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Full text of "The life and speeches of Charles Brantley Aycock"

i£ LIFE AND SPEEGME;^ 



MRLES B. AYCOCK 



ROW; CONNOR 



AND 



:larence poe 




m 



m 





THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



tVilming- 

Mary C 

m, N.C.; 
la, 1908) ; 
:;, Prac- 
1893-1903; 
rior Ct., 
ker) and 
of N.C., 
, of N.C., 
icopalian. 



FOE, Clarence, editor; b. on farm, Chatham 
Co., N.C., Jan. 10, 1881; s. William B. and Susan 
(Dismukes) P.; ed. public sets.; (Litt.D., Wake 
Forest Coll., 1914); m. Alice, d. Gov. C. B. Ay- 
cock, 1912. Editor Progressive Farmer, 1899 — ; 
pres. Progressive Farmer Co., 1903 — . Has been 
pres. N.C. Conf. for -Social Service, N.C. Com. 
Rural Race Problems, N.C, Press Assn., N.C. 
Lit. and Hist. Assn.; mem. exec. com. N.C. Bd. 
Agr., N.C. Farmers' Union, N.C. Anti-Saloon 
League, Southern Conf. Edn. and Industry, 
Nat. Conf. Marketing and Farm Credits; cbmn. 
N.C. Com. Community Service. Lecturer on ru- 
ral problems and Southern questions. Circum- 
navigated glohe 1910-11, studying industrial and 
social conditions in Orient; studied agr. co- 
operation in Ireland, Denmark, 1912. Baptist. 
Democrat. Author: Cotton, 1906; A Southerner 
in Europe, 1908; Where Half the World Is 
Waking Up (Oriental travel), 1911; Life and 
Speeches Charles B. Aycock, 1912; How Farm- 
ers Cooperate and Double Profits, 1915; also 
pamphlets, etc. Address: Raleigh, N.C. 



and I1.1/.U K^ixt-iji^-j,^ ..^w. ^^ , . .„ iiic- 

cardo Bertelli, of Genoa, Italy, Oct. 23, 1911. 
Debut as Constance in "The Transgressor,'" 
with. Olga Nethersole, in Palmer's Theatre, 
New York, 1S94; insenue in Empire Stock Co.. 
Empire Theatre, 1S96; leading lady with .John 
Drew in '"Tyranny of Tears," "Second in Com- 
mand" and "Richard Carvel," 1902; leading lady 
with William Gillette in "Sherlock Holmes"; 
with Nat Goodwin as Helena in "Midsummer 
Nighfs DreajQ," 1903; starred under Charles 
Frohman, in "Girl with the Green Byes," 1904; 
also leading lady with Richard Mansfield in 
"Old Heidelberg," "Ivan the Terrible," etc.; 
leading lady with William Collier, in "On the 
Quiet," London and New York, 1905; appeared 
as Ann Whitfield, in "Man and Superman." 
1906, and later played in "The Wolf" and "Lit- 
tle Brother of the Rich"; appeared with Nazi- 
mova, as Asta, in "Little Eyolf," 1910; starred 
in "The Talker," 1911; retired from stage. 
Home: Elmsford, N.Y. 
COXRAD, Arcturus Z, clergyman; 6. Shiloh, 
Ind.. Nov. 26, 1855; s. Jacob E. and Margaret 



THE LIFE AND SPEECHES OF 
CHARLES BRANTLEY AYCOCK 




AYCOCK IN HIS LATER YEARS 

This is the last photograph taken of him. 



^ Hy^-C>l^U^ ""^pn^^^t^^ 




THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

OF 

Charles Brantley Aycock 

By 

R. D. W. CONNOR 

Secretary North Carolina Historical Commission and Author of 
"Cornelius Homett, An Essay in North Carolina History," Etc. 

and 

CLARENCE POE 

'Editor of "The Progressive Farmer," and Author of "A Southerner 
in Europe." "Where Half the World is Waking Up," Etc. 



GARDEN CITY NEW YORK 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 

1912 



Copyright, 1912, by 
Mrs. Cora W. Aycock 

All rights reserved, including that of 

translation into foreign languages 

including the Scandinavian. 



r -: 



To 
The Boys and Girls of North Carolina 

whom he loved, for whose development he 

so passionately yearned^ and for whom 

he ever gave the gladdest service 

of his heroic life^ 

This Book is dedicated 



PREFACE 

We have earnestly sought throughout this book to 
avoid T^Titing in a spirit of eulogy or in a spirit of par- 
tisanship. We should like for every North Carolinian 
to know Ay cock as he really was. As he said but a 
few months before his death in introducing Mr. Wil- 
liam J. Bryan: "It has never been my custom in pre- 
senting a speaker to an audience to eulogize him. If he 
needs it, he does not deserve it; if he deserves it, he does 
not need it." The authors have sought to write with 
a full recognition of this fact. If despite our efforts 
our volume still appears eulogistic, it is not our fault, 
but because the mere faithful delineation, an un- 
touched negative of his character, as it were, itself 
gives that impression. It would, in fact, be an indict- 
ment of the people of North Carolina if the man best 
beloved among them of all his generation had not pos- 
sessed such a character. We can only assure the reader 
that we have sought to hold the mirror up to nature. 
In what we have said in this chapter about unselfish- 
ness and sincerity as the keynote of his character, for 
example, we have simply recorded the undoubted facts 
as they are — writing no more in a spirit of eulogy than 
we shall write in a spirit of criticism in recording the 
fact that as Governor he probably pardoned too 
many prisoners, or as a lawyer was not methodical in 
business. 

vii 



462457 



viii PREFACE 

We have also sought to avoid partisanship. Never- 
theless, the fact remains that Ay cock was a party- 
leader and that he was an intense, insistent, unyielding, 
even if never bitter or vindictive, partisan. It has 
been necessary for us to record the facts as we see them 
— and, in the main, as he saw them — about the times 
in which he lived. If any statement we have made 
seems partisan, it is only because the bare record of 
the fact as we see it, itself seems partisan; and we would 
always have it remembered that we have set down 
nothing in bitterness but everything in candor. 

The authors cannot too heartily thank the scores of 
friends of Governor Ay cock who have aided us. With- 
out their help this volume could not have been pre- 
pared. First of all, Judge Robert W. Winston should 
be named. We return especial thanks to Judge H. G. 
Connor for the chapter on "Ay cock as a Lawyer'* 
which we have inserted substantially as he wrote it. 
A partial list of the others to whom we are under 
especial obligations follows: 

Dr. K. P. Battle, Chapel Hill; Marion Butler, Washington; 
Prof. E. C. Brooks, Durham; Rev. W. C. Cole, Chapel Hill; W. T. 
Caho, Bayboro; Hugh Chatham, Winston-Salem; R. D. Collins, 
Linden; Josephus Daniels, Raleigh; R. A, Doughton, Sparta; 
J. D. Davis, Fremont; C. C. Daniels, Wilson; Judge F. A. Daniels, 
Goldsboro; A. H. Elleb Winston-Salem; Rev. J. H. Foy, Roseville, 
Cat; Dr. J. I. Foust. Greensboro; Ex-Gov. A. B. Glenn, Winston- 
Salem; Jonathan Hooks, Fremont; Rev. J. D. Hufham, Hender- 
son; J. Allen Holt, Oak Ridge; Archibald Johnson, Thomasville; 
Dr. J, Y. Joyner, Raleigh; Rev. Livingston Johnson, Raleigh; 
Bishop J. C. KiLGO, Durham; J. D. Langston, Goldsboro; Fred. 
A. Olds, Raleigh; P. M. Pearsall, New Bern; Dr. Robert. P. Pell, 
Spartanburg, S. C; J. R. Rodwell, Warrenton; Miss Frances 
Renfrow, Raleigh; Bishop Edward Rondthaler, Winston-Salem; 



PREFACE IX 

Westcott Roberson, High Point; M. L. Shipivl^n, Raleigh; Dr. C. 
Alphonso Smith, Charlottesville, Va.; Francis D. Winston, 
Windsor; Dr. Geo. T. Winston, Ashe\alle; C. S. Wooten, Mt. 
Olive; Prof. H. H. Williams, Chapel Hill. 

It should be added that where any reference to either 
of the authors has seemed necessary, the author named 
second herewith has used the term "the writer," and 
the author first named some other designation. 

R. D. W. Connor. 

Clarence Poe. 



CHRONOLOGY 

1859 November 1st, born in Wayne County near 
Nahunta (now Fremont). Parents: Ben- 
jamin Ay cock, Serena Hooks Ay cock. 

1875 August 21st, his father died. 

1876 At school at Nahunta, Wilson, and Kinston. 

1877 Entered the University of North Carolina. 

1879 Made his first public address in interest of edu- 

cation in Mangum Township, in what is 
now Durham County. 

1880 Graduated at the University in June, winning 

Bingham Essayist Medal and Willie P. 
Mangum Medal for best graduating ora- 
tion. In summer and fall canvassed Wayne 
County for the Democratic ticket. 

1881 Began practice at law in Goldsboro with Frank 

A. Daniels. May 25th, married Miss 
Varina Davis Woodard of Wilson. July, 
elected Superintendent Public Instruction 
for Wayne County. 
1888 Canvassed his Congressional district as Cleve- 
land presidential elector, winning distinction 
as a political debater and a student of the 
tariff. 

1890 Candidate for Congress before the Democratic 

Convention which named Hon. B. F. Grady. 

1891 Married Miss Cora L. Woodard, younger sister of 

his first wife, who had died the previous year. 

xi 



xii CHRONOLOGY 

1892 Elector-at-large on the Cleveland ticket; can- 

vassed the State with Mr. Marion Butler, 
Populist nominee for elector-at-large. Au- 
gust 14th, his mother died. 

1893 Appointed United States District Attorney for 

the Eastern District of North Carolina, 
which position he held till 1897. 

1894, 1896 Again canvassed the State for the Demo- 
cratic ticket. 

1898 May 12th, sounded the keynote of the "white 
supremacy" campaign in speech at Laurin- 
burg with Hon. Locke Craig. Became 
known as the most effective Democratic 
speaker in this campaign, his debates with 
Dr. Cyrus Thompson becoming historic. 

1900 April 1 1th, unanimously nominated for Governor 

of North Carolina, all other candidates 
withdrawing before the convention met. 
Became the leader in the campaign for the 
adoption of the constitutional amendment 
for eliminating negro vote, promising the 
people that if elected Governor he would 
wage a persistent campaign for public 
education. 

August 2nd, elected Governor by the 
largest majority over opposition ever given 
a candidate in North Carolina — 60,354. 

1901 January 15th, inaugurated Governor. Imme- 

diately began a campaign for improving 
the State's public schools. 
1904 His campaigns for public education having 
attracted national attention, he was invited 



CHRONOLOGY xiii 

by educational authorities of Maine to 
canvass that State in behalf of the schools. 
He was accompanied in this canvass by 
Hon. Francis D. Winston. 
1905 January. He returned to Goldsboro as a pri- 
vate citizen, resuming his law practice with 
Hon. Frank A. Daniels. June 14th, received 
degree of LL. D. from University of Maine. 

1908 One of the leading speakers in the campaign for 

State-wide prohibition. 

1909 January. Moved to Raleigh, forming law part- 

nership with Hon. Robert W. Winston. 
This partnership existed until Aycock's 
death. 

1911 May 20th, announced himself a candidate for 

Democratic nomination for United States 
Senate. 

1912 April 4th, died suddenly in Birmingham, Ala., 

while addressing the Alabama Educational 
Association on Universal Education. April 
7th, buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, 
N. C. 



CONTENTS 

Part I. — Life of Aycock page 

Preface vii 

Chronology xi 

Introduction xix 

I. Ancestry, Boyhood and Early Education 3 
II. From Farm Boy to University Leader 21 
III. The Foundations on \Miich Aycock Built 

His Character 32 

44 
61 
73 



IV. Aycock as a Lawyer .... 
V. The Menace of Negro Suffrage 
VI. The Suffrage Campaign of 1900 . . 
VII. A Progressive Administration 
VIII. *' The Educational Governor " ... Ill 
IX. Aycock's Ideals of Citizenship and Pub- 
lic Service 140 

X. Aycock the Southerner: His Attitude 
Toward the Negro and Toward 

Sectional Issues 153 

XI. Aycock the Man: His Relations to His 

Friends and His Fellows 164 

XII. Intimate Glimpses of i\.ycock : Personal 

Traits, Tastes, and Characteristics 177 

XIII. Aycock 's Later Years and His Candidacy 

for the Senate 189 

XIV. His Last Days and His Relations to His 

Family 204 

XV 



xvi CONTENTS 



Part II. — Aycock's Speeches 

PAGE 

I. The Keynote of the Amendment Cam- 
paign : Speech Accepting the Nomi- 
nation for Governor. (1900) . . 211 
II. The Ideals of a New Era: Inaugural 

Address. (1901) 228 

III. A Message to the Negro; Address at 

Negro State Fair. (1901) ... 247 

IV. Speech Defending His Policies and Ad- 

ministration: Democratic State 
Convention. (1904) .... 252 
V. The South and the Union: Speech at 

Charleston Exposition. (1902) . 268 
VI. The Genius of North Carolina Inter- 
preted: Greensboro Reunion Speech. 

(1903) 272 

VII. How the South May Regain Its Prestige: 
Address at Southern Educational 

Association. (1903) 279 

VIII. Ay cock on the Hustings: A Typical 

Campaign Stump Speech. (1910) 287 
XI. Robert E.Lee: Address. (1912) . . 309 
X. Universal Education : Unfinished Speech 

at Birmingham, Ala., April 4, 1912 . 316 
XL A Last Message to the People of His 
State: Address Prepared for De- 
hvery in Raleigh, April 12, 1912 . . 325 
Index 365 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Aycock In His Later Years . . Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

Benjamin Aycock ...... 8 

Serena Hooks Aycock 16 

Aycock As a Young Man 24 

Old South Building, State University . . 28 

Aycock As He Appeared While Governor . .214 

Governor Aycock Delivering His Inaugural Ad- 
dress 238 

Outline for Governor Aycock's Universal Edu- 
cation Speech ...... 322 



INTRODUCTION 

IN LOOKING over the completed chapters of this 
volume, that which seems to stand out clearest, 
even where our first aim has been to record achieve- 
ments and labors, is the personal character of Governor 
Aycock. It is well if this is true. It is, in our opinion, 
not his greatest distinction that he was at one time 
Governor of North Carolina and one of the greatest 
of our Governors, nor yet that he was a leader in a 
great revolution that established the political suprem- 
acy of the white race in North Carolina, and in another 
revolution that made universal education forever "a 
matter of course instead of a matter of debate" in the 
Commonwealth. His greatest distinction is rather 
that he was the most beloved North Carolinian of his 
generation. 

The heritage of Aycock's achievements is indeed a 
treasure which his mother State will cherish, proudly 
and lovingly, for many generations to come; but even 
finer than the heritage of his achievement is the heritage 
of his character. 

Aycock not only won the support of his fellows, but 
he won their trust. He not only won their trust, but 
he won their love. "Love," we know, is not a word 
that comes easily to a man*s lips in speaking of other 
men. *'He was my friend," **He is a man I always 
admired," **He is the man I am supporting " — so the 

xix 



XX INTRODUCTION 

phrases usually run. But such words did not express 
the feeling of the people of North Carolina for the man 
whose life-story this book tells. When the mournful 
news of his death was flashed over the wires from Bir- 
mingham, not a mere select number of friends, but 
thousands and thousands of sturdy, rough-featured 
men from the mountains to the sea, from day laborers 
to millionaires, said in husky tones, "I loved Aycock." 
Scores and scores of strong men in all walks of life 
have sent us reminiscences for publication in this 
volume — quiet men, not given to sentiment and averse 
to effusive speech — and through them all runs the 
same vein of feeling, "We loved Ay cock and the people 
loved him." 

In fact, the knowledge of the hold that he had upon 
the affections of the people was one of the greatest 
happinesses of his latter years. The fact comes out 
humorously in his Asheboro speech: "Bless your life, 
I was for a man for Governor two years ago and he got 
beat. Men on the other side said I was trying to force 
his nomination because I had been Governor and every- 
body loved me. And I believe everybody did love 
me. But as soon as they got that report out, they 
went and voted for the other man just to show me that 
I couldn't run them." 

Inevitably the question presents itself: What was 
the cause of this distinction? Why did North Caro- 
linians admire other leaders, but love Aycock? And the 
answer must be, it was a case of love begetting love. 
He never knew what it was to cringe before the people 
for their favor or bend the knee that thrift might follow 
fawning. He would not have flattered Neptune for 



INTRODUCTION xxi 

his trident, or Jove for his power to thunder. But 
Aycock, as Governor Jarvis said, "had, Uke Vance, a 
genuine love and affection for all the people of the 
State." His great heart simply overflowed with love 
for "folks" — he would have preferred this homely 
term instead of "people" — for all sorts and conditions 
of "folks"; and men simply measured to him again as 
he had meted to them. It was only six days before his 
death that a friend brought to his attention a saying 
of Tolstoi's: "We think there are circumstances when 
we may deal with human beings without love, and there 
are no such circumstances: you may make bricks, cut 
down trees, or hammer iron without love, but you can- 
not deal with men without it." And his career affords 
striking proof of the truth of Tolstoi's saying. Editor 
Archibald Johnson stated the truth at the time of Ay- 
cock's death: "The secret of his strength was that he 
was a great lover. His heart was as tender as a woman's, 
and warm and true. His affection for the State was a 
passion that glowed perpetually." And this love for 
his fellows which was Aycock's ruling passion — how 
completely it measured up to the requirements set 
forth by the great Apostle to the Gentiles: unselfish, 
" seeketh not her own, envieth not "; sincere," vaunteth 
not itself and is not puffed up"; and "thinketh no evil." 
As an official he regarded his first duty as being to the 
State; as a man, to his fellows; as a Democrat, to his 
party; as a husband and father, to his family; as an 
humble Christian, to his God. He found absolutely 
no relation in life in which he could think first of self. 
His next most remarkable trait was his absolute 
freedom from all pretense. As has been so well said of 



xxii INTRODUCTION 

him, he had "the simpUcity of sincerity and the 
sincerity of simpHcity." 

We emphasize these things because after the in- 
timate study of all phases of Aycock*s life required in 
the preparation of this book, it is our conclusion that 
while it is well for every North Carolina boy and girl 
to know of Aycock the Governor, Aycock the party 
leader, and Aycock the educational crusader, it is even 
better for them to know Aycock the man. 

In the finest passage in his ** French Revolution," 
Carlyle recounts the deeds (and misdeeds) of the dead 
sovereign of France and then moralizes wisely: "Man, 
Symbol of Eternity, imprisoned into time, it is not thy 
works which are all mortal, infinitely little, and the 
greatest no greater than the least, but only the Spirit 
thou workest in, that can have worth or continuance.'* 

It is not because of the offices he held, not because 
of the power he exerted, but because of the spirit he 
worked in that the echoes of Aycock's influence, in the 
language of his beloved Tennyson, will — 

" Roll from soul to soul 
And grow forever and forever " 

in the State he loved and served. Not every boy who 
reads this volume can hold high office as Aycock held 
it. Thefe is but one North Carolinian at the time 
among our more than two millions who can sit in the 
office of Governor. Not every one can sway the people 
as Aycock swayed them. To but one man in a genera- 
tion is it given to have the love and loyalty of the 
people as he had them, and even his great heart and 
great brain could not have won for him such influence 



INTRODUCTION xxiii 

had not a crisis in the State's history also brought the 
opportunity for the fullest exercise of his powers. 
But to work in Aycock's unselfish spirit for the up- 
building of North Carolina, to share his passionate 
yearning for the uplift of all classes of our people, to 
fight always, as he fought, for " the equal right of every 
child born on earth to burgeon out all there is within 
him," and to feel, as he felt, that every civic duty, 
whether exercised by the humblest voter or the highest 
official, is a sacred trust to be used never for one's otmi 
aggrandizement or profit, but only for the public good 
— these things all of us may do, and they constitute 
the teaching of Aycock's fife. 



Part I 
LIFE OF AYCOCK 



The Life and Speeches of 
Charles B. Aycock 

CHAPTER I 
CHARLES BRANTLEY AYCOCK 

ANCESTRY, BOYHOOD AND EARLY EDUCATION 

THE ancestors of Charles Brantley Aycock were 
plain, simple farmers who cared nothing for 
genealogies and preserved no family records. 
However, the constant reappearance of the same 
family names through several generations enables us 
to trace the line of his ancestors back to colonial times 
with some degree of accuracy. They were among 
the earliest settlers upon the fertile lands that lie along 
the upper waters of Neuse River, and its tributaries, 
in what is now Wayne County, North Carohna. It 
appears that, some time prior to the Revolution, mem- 
bers of the family migrated to that section from the 
northeastern end of the colony. William Aycock, the 
first of the name in the colony of whom we have 
record, entered upon a grant of five hundred acres in 
Northampton County in the year 1744. After that 
date the records of the colony mention others whose 
names indicate a close family connection. Among 

3 



4 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

them, besides William, were Francis, Robert, John, 
and Jesse, all of whose names reappear among the 
brothers of Charles B. Ay cock. Two of these Ay cocks, 
Robert and John, were soldiers of the Revolution. 

Governor Aycock's great grandfather was probably 
Jesse Aycock, whose name appears in the Federal 
Census of 1790 as the head of a family in Wayne 
County, which, in the language of the Census, con- 
sisted of two "free white males of sixteen years and 
upward,'* four '*free white males under sixteen years," 
and two "free white females" — probably himself 
and wife, ^ve sons and one daughter. He owned 
three slaves. The grandfather of Governor Aycock, 
also named Jesse, married first a Miss Wilkinson, 
and by her became the father of six sons, one of whom 
was Benjamin, the Governor's father. 

The line of Governor Aycock's maternal ancestors, 
beyond the third generation, is equally obscure. His 
great grandfather was probably the Robert Hooks 
whom the Census records as head of a family in Wayne 
County in 1790, consisting of one "free white male" 
over sixteen, three "free white males under sixteen," 
and one "free white female." That he was a man of 
considerable wealth, as wealth was then counted in 
that community, is indicated by the fact that he was 
the master of fourteen slaves. In all Wayne County 
only twenty-seven persons owned a larger number. 
His son, Robert Hooks, married a Miss Bishop, by 
whom he had four sons and three daughters. The 
eldest of the daughters, Serena, married Benjamin 
Aycock, and became the mother of Charles Brantley 
Aycock. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 5 

Benjamin Aycock, a man of great reserve and 
dignity, was a fine product of that sturdy, law-abiding, 
industrious rural population which has always formed 
the backbone of North Carolina, and has given to the 
State her most marked characteristics. He loved the 
simplicity and independence of rural life, and inculcated 
in the members of his family habits of economy, thrift 
and industry. His neighbors esteemed him for his 
honesty, his fine common sense and practical wisdom, 
and for his great strength of character. He served 
the people of Wayne County for eight years as Clerk 
of the Superior Court, and in 1864 and 1865 repre- 
sented them in the State Senate. 

His service in the State Senate was not without 
significance and interest. There was nothing of the 
politician about him. He performed his duties in the 
same straightforward, uncalculating manner, and 
with the same unyielding courage of conviction — as 
a single instance will illustrate — which so strongly 
characterized the public career of his more distinguished 
son. In 1864 the relations existing between the State 
Government and the Confederate Government bor- 
dered upon open hostility. The passage of the Con- 
script Act by the Confederate Congress had aroused 
intense opposition in North Carolina. Governor 
Vance, though determined to enforce the law, was 
known to believe it unconstitutional. A majority 
in both Houses of the Legislature not only believed it 
unconstitutional, but were resolved if possible to pre- 
vent its enforcement. In the Senate the anti- 
administration forces were ably led, bent upon em- 
barrassing the Confederate Government and intolerant 



6 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of opposition. Moreover, they had the moral support 
of popular sentiment. Timid men bent before the 
current of public sentiment, and politicians trimmed 
their sails to catch the prevailing winds. Senator 
Ay cock was neither the one nor the other. He did 
not sympathize with these views, and came forward 
as one of the most active leaders in opposition to them. 
As chairman of a committee to report on that part of 
the Governor's message, which related to the Con- 
script Act, he declared that while he lamented the 
necessity for it, he did "not consider the present to 
be the proper time or place to decide upon the con- 
stitutionality of that measure. . . . Shall the 
noble-hearted men," referring to those in the army, he 
exclaimed, "be suffered to call and die in vain, while 
a man is left at home who can or ought to render aid.^ " 
In spite of intense opposition, and in the face of popular 
sentiment, on every vote taken in the Senate his "name 
always led the list of those who sought to uphold the 
Confederate administration, and although that party 
was in the minority in the Senate as well as in the 
House, he never flinched in the performance of his 
full duty to the soldiers in the field and to those who 
were making such Herculean efforts to achieve South- 
ern Independence.'* 

Benjamin Aycock had no fondness for politics, but, 
like his son, he considered it the duty of every good 
citizen to participate in pubhc affairs to the end that 
good government might be established and main- 
tained; and he neither sought, nor, when called upon 
by his neighbors, refused to accept public office. But 
it was as a private citizen that he served his country 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 7 

best. A law-abiding citizen, a good farmer, a God- 
fearing Christian, he impressed himself strongly on 
his family and his community. He was, as one of his 
former pastors tells us, "an excellent member and 
deacon of the Primitive Baptist Church; and while 
opening a conference at Aycock's Church in Wilson 
County (1875), he dropped dead of heart disease, thus 
falling at his post of duty as did his distinguished son." 
Serena Hooks, mother of Charles Brantley Aycock, 
was a remarkable woman. She possessed intellectual 
gifts that, in a large degree, made up for her lack of 
early education. During the years in which her hus- 
band's public duties took him away from home, the 
entire management of the farm and the training of her 
sons, then at their most impressionable age, fell upon 
her shoulders. She met her responsibiUties with 
great success. Firm and inflexible in her discipline, 
she was always kind and affectionate, never in a hurry 
and never known to lose her temper. In the evenings, 
during the school term, it was her custom to gather her 
children around her for an hour or two of study, after 
which she required them to recite their lessons to her; 
and although without any education herself, she had 
no trouble in telling by the expressions of their faces 
whether or not they knew their lessons. Charles 
Aycock once saw his mother make her mark when 
signing a deed; and this incident, as he often declared 
to his intimate friends, impressed him so forcibly Tv^th 
the failure of the State to do its duty in establishing 
and maintaining a public school system, that he re- 
solved to devote whatever talents he might possess 
to procuring for every child born in North Carolina 



8 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

an open schoolhouse, and an opportunity for obtaining 
a public school education. "His mother," says one 
who knew her well, "inherited from her mother the 
strain of Quaker blood which gave her the grave, 
benignant manner, brevity of speech, gentleness of 
touch, and tenderness of affection" which she trans- 
mitted in so marked a degree to her youngest son. 
She was noted, too, for her "fidelity to duty, and vigor 
of mind and body which carried her through a long 
life of toil and sacrifice, patiently and faithfully borne, 
and tenderly and lovingly requited, until having 
accomplished the full measure of her days [1892], she 
went peacefully to her rest." Governor Ay cock bore 
a strong resemblance to his mother both in character 
and in features; and to her influence and training he 
attributed whatever of success he achieved in life. 

Benjamin and Serena Ay cock had ten children, of 
whom Charles Brantley was the youngest. The place 
of his birth was in Nahunta Township, Wayne County, 
North Carolina. The home in which he was reared 
"was a quiet one in which affection, order, industry, 
and frugality were linked with clear thinking, direct- 
ness of speech, devotion to duty, and deep religious 
conviction." A pen picture of the community is 
drawn with such skill and charm by Judge Frank A. 
Daniels that we reprint it in full. 

"The community was wholly agricultural. The 
owners or their fathers or grandfathers had cleared 
the lands and brought them into a fine state of culti- 
vation. The crops are usually good because cultivated 
intelligently and industriously. The largest land- 



BENJAMIN AYCOCK 

Father of Charles Brantley Ay cock. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 9 

owner was capable of doing as much work as his best 
hired laborer and took pride in doing it. The farm 
hand who could keep place with his employer in cotton 
chopping time was the recipient of warm congratula- 
tions. Work was looked upon as the first duty of 
man, and woe betide the luckless farmer who, forgetting 
the primal law of life, permitted his cotton to become 
grassy. If he escaped having his crop auctioned off 
to the highest bidder at the depot some Saturday 
evening, in the presence of his neighbors, it was only 
because he bound himself in the most solemn terms 
that the next Saturday should find it clean. 

"Prosperity smiled upon the community and as 
wealth accumulated, more land was bought and larger 
crops w^ere raised. The only investment regarded as 
wise was the purchase or improvements of land. 

"The population was homogeneous. The original 
settlers were of English stock. The scanty immi- 
gration came from the same source, and was confined 
to the occasional arrival of an individual or family 
from a neighboring county. They were a strong and 
vigorous people, independent, industrious and re- 
ligious. They had not much of the culture derived 
from books, but they had a culture which cannot 
always be obtained from books. They were well 
informed on political questions, kept in touch with the 
great movements of the day, advocated and practised, 
as opportunity permitted, the education of their chil- 
dren, exhibited a patriotic interest in the welfare of 
the country, and when soldiers were needed gave their 
best and bravest to die for their principles. 

"They were an undemonstrative people. Sim- 



10 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

plicity of life characterized them. *Deeds, not words/ 
might have been written as their motto. They strove 
to be accurate and literal in their statements. Exag- 
geration or hyperbole was foreign to them. A flood 
was to them a tolerably heavy rain; an enormous crop, 
a fair yield; a great speech, a good talk. If one was 
ill, he was'not very well,* and if he was well, he fre- 
quently described himself as *just up' or *so as to be 
about.* 

"They had a courage of a high order, but never 
vaunted it. It was of the quiet sort, that makes itself 
felt when occasion demands. A typical Nahunta man, 
whose company was charging the enemy in one of the 
battles of the War Between the States, engrossed in 
the business in hand, went his steady gait in the di- 
rection of the foe, under a storm of shot, when, not 
hearing his comrades, he turned and looked to see 
what had become of them, and found* they had stopped 
a hundred yards or more behind him. He yelled to 
them at the top of his voice, Tellows, why don't you 
come on.f*' and stood his ground until they came. He 
was never able to see the point of the compliment his 
Captain paid him in camp that night; his only feeling 
seemed to be one of good-humored contempt for the 
^fellows' who wouldn't *come on.' 

"The hospitality of the community was proverbial. 
It was kind and unostentatious, but open-handed. 
It was impossible to escape the kindly, cordial im- 
portunity extended on all sides, and it was no infrequent 
thing for twenty-five guests to sit down to dinner in 
one of the modest homes of that community, 

"It was expected, of course, that every man should 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 11 

take care of himself and his family, and in the rare 
instances in which this exp>ectation was disappointed, 
the thriftless or lazy wight soon had it borne in upon 
him in some indefinable way, that his further stay 
was not desirable, and ere long took his departure. 
The tricky and dishonest felt the frown of public 
condemnation, and could not thrive in that pure 
atmosphere. 

"The hand of charity was always extended to the 
unfortunate, but only to the deserving. Indiscriminate 
giving was felt to be a wrong to the recipient as well 
as to the community. 

"When sickness or misfortune came the spirit of 
mutual helpfulness was a guaranty that no harm 
should come to the afflicted one, and the neighbors 
volunteered to do the plowing, chop the cotton, or 
gather the crop as required. 

"There was in all classes a deep-seated regard for 
law and order and a strong attachment to democratic 
government. No more democratic community, both 
in principle and in practice, could be found among 
civilized men, and coupled with this was the spirit 
of instant and determined opposition to misrule or 
oppression, which is always found where democratic 
principles dominate. 

"The virtues of this community are traceable in 
great part to the strong hold of religion upon the peo- 
ple. The Primitive Baptist faith, strongly Calvinistic, 
had many adherents, and was the controlling factor. 
Under its influence men and women, strong in faith and 
character, grew up, led public sentiment, and gave 
tone to moral and social life." 



12 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Multiplied by itself a sufficient number of times, 
Nahunta becomes North Carolina; and in this fact 
we find the secret of the hold that Charles B. Aycock 
was able to secure and retain upon the people of the 
State. The spirit of Nahunta was the spirit of North 
Carolina, and because he understood the one, he 
understood the other. That spirit thoroughly per- 
meated the nature of young Aycock, and being a 
"typical Nahunta boy," he became by a natural 
process of development a typical North Carolina man. 
The simplicity of character, the independence of 
thought, the homely virtues of the people among whom 
he was born and reared, reached their fullest develop- 
ment in him. No man understood more clearly than 
himself the influence which his early environment had 
in moulding his character, in forming his habits of 
thought, in shaping his attitude generally toward 
life. 

The feeling of local attachment was strongly 
developed in him. While Governor of the State he 
declared to a large audience in the State of Maine: 
"I love my home town better than any other town in 
Wayne County; I love Wayne County better than 
any other county in North Carolina, North Carolina 
better than any other State in the Union, the United 
States better than any other country in the world, 
and," he added half jestingly, half seriously, "I love 
this world better than the next." The same thought 
found fuller expression shortly before his death, in 
his address on Robert E. Lee. "The love of home, of 
family, of neighborhood, of county, of State, pre- 
dominated in him. The elemental foundation of all 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 13 

free government is found in this vital fact. There 
can never be a free people save those who love and 
serve those closest to them first, and those farthest 
away afterward. The Gospel must be preached to 
all the world, but its preaching must begin at Jerusalem. 
It never could have begun anywhere else, and if it had, 
it never would have gone anywhere else." There is 
nothing new or original in this sentiment: thousands 
of others before him had said the same thing. But 
Charles B. Ay cock believed it, and the people of North 
Carolina knew that it was the mainspring of his life. 
During the campaign of 1900, after he had spoken to an 
immense gathering at Goldsboro, Mr. Josephus 
Daniels wrote to his paper, The News and Observer: 

"These Wayne County people beheve so thoroughly 
in Aycock that they are not astonished at any feat 
he has accomplished. I told one to-day that in Ca- 
tawba County he made the greatest speech of his life 
to 5,000 people. What do you think his reply was? 
T reckon Charles made a right good speech in Catawba, 
but I just know it couldn't hold a light to that speech 
he made in Great Swamp [a township in Wayne 
County] in 1896.' Speaking to an honest old-time 
Democrat, I said, *Aycock made a powerful speech in 
Wake County yesterday,' *I reckon so,' he replied, 
*but he never can speak half as well away from home 
as he can at Nahunta or Pikeville. There he beats 
all creation." 

And the ** old-time Democrat" was right. It was 
the Nahunta boy's soul burning with desire to serve 



14 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Nahunta that gave him his first inspiration: and as 
time and opportunity broadened his field of vision and 
of service all of North Carolina became to him as was 
Nahunta. 

Born a little more than a year before the outbreak 
of the Civil War, Charles Aycock was nearly six years 
old at its close; and he grew to manhood during the 
period of Reconstruction. He was, therefore, of an 
age to receive vivid impressions of the events of both 
periods, yet not old enough to imbibe the bitterness 
to which they gave birth. He made frequent and 
effective use of his impressions of the conditions under 
which he passed his boyhood days in his campaign 
speeches, and before juries which, taken altogether, 
reveal the vividness of his recollections of those days. 
He remembered, he said, "the closing years of that 
great internecine strife which swept over my [his] 
country like a besom of destruction"; and he recalled 
how his own elder brothers, and other Confederate 
soldiers, returned from the army "weary, worn and 
sorrowful, to find their farms gone to ruin, their fences 
down, their ditches filled, their stock slaughtered, in 
too many instances their houses burned." "There 
was neither food nor raiment, and those who had in 
the past labored for them were free, and were enjoying 
their new freedom with a license which imperiled life 
and property, and their fields were gone to waste. 
They were without capital and without material with 
which to begin the struggle of life. They had neither 
teams nor agricultural implements with which to 
begin the work." "Mourning was everywhere in the 
land. Universal poverty, actual scarcity, real suffer- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 15 

ing, genuine want were in the State." But worst of 
all was the hatred which had been engendered, not 
only between North and South, but even among 
neighbors and families of the same community. He 
remembered "how the people hated Abe Lincoln, and 
how the Yankee folk hated Jeff Davis. Their pic- 
tures app>eared in all the papers, they were caricatured 
and cartooned from one end of the country to the 
other. Abe Lincoln's face lent itself to the facile pen 
of the cartoonist to make it look hideous, while Davis's 
face was easy to be made monstrous. And they 
paraded them over the country, to the gratification 
of the respective partisans of either side." It was a 
time "when reason had lost its base, when men almost 
forgot God, when they became familiar with death 
and blood and slaughter, and lay down with hatred 
in their souls." 

It is not necessary to describe the political con- 
ditions that prevailed in North Carolina during the 
era of Reconstruction: that task belongs to the general 
historian. Yet after 1865 there never was a moment 
of his life when Aycock was not under the direct in- 
fluence of those conditions, for they cut deep the 
channels along which flowed the current of his life, 
and which determined the course of his public career. 
In 1868, the period of Congressional Reconstruction 
began, and Wayne County, together with the other 
counties of the East, passed into the control of the 
Carpet-baggers and their negro alhes. Their brief 
rule was characterized by inefficiency, extravagance, 
violence, and unblushing corruption. On the part 
of the native whites, political contests assumed all the 



16 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

seriousness of a desperate struggle for the preservation 
of life, liberty, and property. 

Too young to take any part in this struggle, Charles 
Aycock was old enough to be profoundly impressed, 
without clearly understanding it all, by what went 
on around him. His father's house became a favorite 
rendezvous for the Nahunta farmers, who, of a summer's 
evening, gathered on his broad piazza and discussed 
pohtics far into the night. Frequently their discus- 
sions were carried on in the hearing of an unknown 
auditor; for though Charles was always early ordered 
off to bed, he sometimes slipped out of the back 
window in his night clothes, crept silently around the 
house, and hiding under the front porch steps, lay 
there as quiet as a mouse, eagerly listening to the 
words of his elders. 

It was at this period, too, that the lad heard his 
first political discussion when John W. Dunham, a 
Democrat, met James Wiggins, a RepubUcan, in joint 
debate at Nahunta. Dunham was a member of the 
Wilson bar, an educated man, with a reputation as an 
experienced and vigorous campaigner. His opponent, 
famiharly known as "Jimmie" Wiggins, was an 
iUiterate man, without respect for the King's English, 
awkward in his manner, and grotesque in his delivery. 
Charles Aycock, boylike, secured a seat immediately 
under the speakers' stand. Dunham opened the 
debate in his usual good style, but his speech made no 
impression on young Aycock. But the moment 
Wiggins began to speak, the boy riveted his eyes upon 
him, followed every gesture, and caught every word. 
He missed nothing. No awkward movement, no 




SERENA HOOKS AYCOCK 

Mother of Charles Brantley Ay cock. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 17 

slang expression, no intonation of voice, no facial 
contortion, escap>ed his attention, and upon his return 
home he astonished his family by repeating the speech 
almost verbatim. For many a day after that memor- 
able occasion it was a favorite amusement in that 
community to place young Aycock on a goods-box in 
the midst of an appreciative audience, who cheered 
and roared heartily as he repeated the words and 
mimicked the tones and gestures of " Jimmie" Wiggins. 

Civil War and Reconstruction had destroyed the 
public school system which Calvin H. Wiley had built 
up in North Carolina, and young Aycock was forced 
to pursue his education in a haphazard sort of way at 
such private schools as chanced to be conducted within 
his reach. The first of these schools was at Nahunta, 
where the f>eople of the community, by uniting their 
small means, had employed a teacher. Here Charles 
Aycock, under the chaperonage of his six older brothers, 
first entered school. "It was an inspiring spectacle," 
says one who frequently witnessed it, "to see these 
seven fine fellows on their way from the farm to the 
school. Charles was then about eight years of age, 
and was the p>et of the family. It was no unusual sight 
to see Frank, the oldest, trotting down the dusty road 
with Charles, the youngest, on his big broad shoulders 
— 'Big Sandy' and 'Little Sandy,' as Charles called 
his brother and himself. They carried their dinner 
in one tin bucket, and as all were hale and hearty 
young men and boys, it can easily be imagined that 
it required an ample one to supply their demands." 

From Nahunta to Wilson, thence to Ejnston, the 
ambitious lad pursued his search for an education. 



18 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

At Wilson he entered the Wilson Collegiate Institute, 
then conducted by Elder Sylvester Hassell, who de- 
clares that in young Ay cock he had "a bright and 
exemplary pupil." One of his schoolmates remembers 
that the "teachers supposed Charles Aycock had not 
had the best preparation and accordingly put him in 
classes with younger boys than himself; but he soon 
showed that they had made a mistake, and they pro- 
moted him to classes of boys of his own age and older, 
where he maintained first place in many studies. He 
was particularly strong in Latin and grammar 
and English. There was no boy in the school who 
could touch him in these three studies. He could 
translate English into Latin with a facility that 
astounded the other boys in the school, and he seemed 
not only to know Latin grammar by heart but was able 
to apply it with accuracy and quickness; the verbs 
seemed to be at his tongue's end. He was not then, 
or at the University, strong in mathematics." 

Declamation and debating, to which every Friday 
afternoon was devoted, formed an important feature 
in Mr. Hassell's scheme of education, and in these 
young Aycock excelled. "His voice," we are told by 
one of his youthful rivals, "was not melodious, and he 
was rather awkward in his movements, but when he 
rose to speak, every person within reach of his voice 
listened until his conclusion." His earnestness, sin- 
cerity, and directness in debate compelled attention. 
His schoolmates recall that at the declamations on 
Friday afternoons, when declaiming some of the old 
masterpieces with which all the [schoolboys were 
familiar, he seemed to make them his own, and to be 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 19 

able to get hold of his audience as well as if he were 
making a speech that he had composed, suitable for 
the occasion. The teachers and children of other 
schoolrooms would throng the hall to hear him. It 
was in the moot court of the debating society, asso- 
ciated with his future law partner, Hon. Frank A. 
Daniels, now Judge of the Superior Court, and against 
Mr. Rodolph Duffy, afterward solicitor of the Sixth 
Judicial District, that the future advocate defended 
and won his first murder case. 

"I recall," says Mr. Josephus Daniels, *'that when 
Aycock was at school in Wilson he did not board in 
the school building, but two miles in the country, and 
walked to school every day, bringing his dinner with 
him and often in the noon hour, after eating, he de- 
voted himself to study." But let it not be supposed 
that "studying after eating" occupied his undivided 
attention during the noon hour. Young Aycock was 
a strong, healthy lad, of sociable instincts, fond of 
sports, and at times he certainly did, by an exercise 
of strong wall power, tear himself away from his books 
and join the other fellows in their games. Besides, 
among his fellow-pupils there were two sisters, Misses 
Varina and Cora Woodard, who certainly taught him 
some lessons which he did not learn from books, either 
before or after eating. 

At Kinston, young Aycock had the good fortune to 
come under the influence of a masterful teacher. Rev. 
Joseph H. Foy, who quickly recognized his pupil's 
superior abilities, and took great pride in directing 
their development. He encouraged the boy in his 
ambition, fired his zeal for learning, and awoke in him 



20 CHARLES B AYCOCK 

a spirit of self-confidence. Governor Aycock never 
forgot, nor failed to acknowledge, the interest which 
this instructor took in him. Under Mr. Foy his 
preparation for college was completed. The family 
all recognized that he was no ordinary boy, and be- 
lieving that he possessed talents which, with proper 
training, would raise him to a position of note in the 
State, determined that every sacrifice should be made 
to send him to the State University and to educate 
him for the bar. 



CHAPTER II 

FROM FARM BOY TO UNIVERSITY LEADER 

YOUNG AYCOCK entered the University of 
North CaroUna in the fall of 1877. His 
appearance made a distinct impression upon 
his fellow-students, and many of them "recall vividly" 
the strong, sturdy-looking country boy, upon his first 
touch with a world somewhat larger than his own 
neighborhood. Says one of them, Hon. Francis D. 
Winston: "I recall vividly my first meeting with 
Charles B. Ay cock. He was sitting in a hack in front 
of Watson's Hotel on his arrival in Chapel Hill to 
enter the State University. A crowd of Sophomores 
was present to greet the newcomers with yells and 
cheers and other evidences of fraternal solicitude and 
scholarly welcome. Ay cock was yet a boy in appear- 
ance and bore about him the simplicity and natural- 
ness of one who has just left the plow handles on his 
father's farm. He looked as modest as a girl, but 
unaffected and self-reliant. He stepped out of the 
hack with as much composure and as little self- 
consciousness as if he were alighting from a load of 
wood at his own home. The boys yelled and cheered. 
I stepped forward, grasped his hand, looked into the 
clear, honest blue eyes of as true a man as ever lived, and 
felt for him the thrill of friendship that is akin to love." 

21 



22 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Charles Aycock entered the University at a tran- 
sition period in its life, and in the life of the State. 
The old University had passed into history together 
with the Civil War and Reconstruction; the new 
University had its face turned toward the future. 

"There was no better place, I think," says Dr. 
Edwin A. Alderman, ''for the making of leaders in the 
world, than Chapel Hill in the late seventies. The 
note of life was simple, rugged, almost primitive. Our 
young hearts, aflame with the impulses of youth, were 
quietly conscious of the vicissitudes and sufferings 
through which our fathers had just passed. *The 
Conquered Banner' and the mournful threnodies of 
Father Ryan were yielding place to songs of hope. A 
heroic tradition pervaded the place, while hope and 
struggle, rather than despair or repining, shone in 
the purpose of the resolute men who were rebuilding 
the famous old school. 

" All of us were poor boys. Those who came from the 
towns looked, perhaps, a trifle more modish to the 
inexperienced eye, but they were just as poor as their 
country fellows, and had come out of just such simple 
homes of self-denial and self-sacrifice. The uncon- 
scious discipline and tutelage of defeat and fortitude 
and self-restraint, had cradled us all. We had all 
seen in the faces of our patient mothers and grim 
fathers something that we knew, if we could not ex- 
press, was not despair, and somehow, life seemed very 
grand and duty easy and opportunity precious." 

New problems in politics, in education, in scholar- 
ship, in industry were beginning to press themselves 
upon the attention of the Commonwealth, and among 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 28 

Aycock's fellow students were not a few of those who 
have since led the way to their solution. He strove 
for college honors against such men as Charles Duncan 
Mclver, Edwin A. Alderman, James Y. Joyner, 
Robert P. Pell, M. C. S. Noble, Henry Horace 
Williams; against Francis D. Winston, Robert W. 
Winston, Rufus A. Doughton, Locke Craig, Frank 
A. Daniels, Charles R. Thomas, James S. Manning, 
and Robert Strange. It was no slight achievement 
for the raw country boy fresh from his Nahunta 
farm even to hold his own with these students: to 
become, as Aycock quickly did, an acknowledged 
leader among them marked him as no common 
youth. 

Aycock entered the Sophomore class. It was his 
wish to complete the course required for graduation 
in two years, but the upper classmen protested, and 
the Faculty refused its permission. He had a strong, 
vigorous mind and a tenacious memory, and easily 
mastered most subjects. His general record, there- 
fore, was good, but in science and mathematics his 
marks fell below the average. His term standing in 
mathematics once falling below the grade required for 
graduation, he resolved not to continue his course 
for his degree but to pass at once into the law school. 
But his friends sought earnestly to dissuade him from 
this course, and finally induced him to take a second 
examination, which, as he himself used to say, he suc- 
ceeded in passing "by main strength and awkward- 
ness." But in Latin, English, PoHtical Economy, 
Logic, and Moral Philosophy he took high rank, be- 
coming particularly distinguished for his Latin and 



24 THE IJFE AND SPEECHES 

English composition. His talent for the latter found 
a field for development on the editorial staff of the 
University Magazine, and in the debates and essays 
which formed the work of the Philanthropic Literary 
Society. He also edited, for a while, the Chapel Hill 
Ledger, a local news weekly. In his Senior year he 
was awarded the William Bingham Essayist's Medal; 
and at Commencement of his graduation, 1880, he 
won the Willie P. Mangum Medal for oratory, speak- 
ing on "The Philosophy of the History of New England 
Morals." These distinctions meant, of course, that 
he was the best writer and the best speaker in his 
class. During his Senior year, in addition to his 
regular college course, he read law under Dr. Kemp P. 
Battle, then president of the University. In spite of 
his strenuous classroom work, Aycock found time for 
a wide range of reading. He had the capacity to 
master books, and while at the University developed 
a strong love of literature which survived the shock 
of legal and political contests, and remained until 
the day of his death, one of his chief sources of enter- 
tainment and inspiration. 

At that time all academic students were required 
to become members of one of the two literary societies 
— the Philanthropic and the Dialectic — whose his- 
tory is almost co-terminous with the history of the 
University itself, and in which not a few of America's 
most eminent statesmen received their training in 
debate and parliamentary practice. Aycock became 
a "Phi," and his fellow members still tell with great 
glee, how on the very night of his initiation he signalized 
his first appearance by "cleaning up" every debater 




AYCOCK AS A YOUNG MAN 

^ Aycock is supposed to have been twenty years old at the time this 
picture was taken — a student of the University. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 25 

on the floor. One of them relates the incident as 
follows: 

"Robert W. Winston was one of the debaters for 
that night. After the regular debaters had finished. 
Judge Winston called upon the new comer, Charles 
B. Aycock, for a speech. The call was good natured 
and evidently intended to embarrass the country boy 
who had just entered the University. Aycock arose 
and began speaking. We all took notice at once, 
and the boys realized that they were in the presence 
of the most brilliant speaker in the college. He cleaned 
up every fellow who had gone before, and created great 
merriment by declaring that the illogical contentions 
of the debaters on the other side reminded him of the 
'fellow who was looking for a black cat in a dark cellar, 
on a dark night, with no light, when the cat was not 
there.' " 

All student activities, social, political, and literary 
were conducted through the societies, and it was in 
them, rather than in the classrooms that the ambitious 
student strove for leadership. Those who led the 
societies, led the University. The work of the society 
was Aycock's natural element, and he passed quickly, 
almost immediately into leadership. He loved the 
stimulating clash of debate, the thrill and excitement 
of battle — to the college student quite as real and 
quite as serious as were the mightier conflicts of later 
days to the party leader. In college politics, as in the 
conflicts of state and national affairs, he struck and 
received swift, hard blows, but it is the testimony of 
all that he fought a clean, manly fight. His blows 
left no sting, nor did he, himself, harbor any bitterness 



26 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of spirit. "Once I saw him," says Professor Williams, 
"in a royal battle for an honor in the Phi Society. 
He detected some ugly practice. Instantly he with- 
drew from the contest. Then he made the finest ap- 
peal for clean methods and high ideals I ever heard." 

On another occasion he chanced to be for the time 
in opposition to an intimate friend, his junior in age, 
and his inferior in physical strength. Under the im- 
pulse of a youthful resentment at something Aycock 
had said, the other sprang up, exclaiming, "The 
gentleman from Wayne has stated what is false; I 
repeat, sir, what is false." For a moment the atmos- 
phere was charged with electricity, and all awaited 
with apprehension the expected outburst; but Aycock, 
with complete self-control calmly arose and asked for 
permission to interrupt the speaker. "I shall never 
forget Aycock's words," declares the latter, "as he 
quietly said: *The gentleman has used language 
on this floor which he well knows he would not have 
used but for his size and the relations heretofore 
existing between us.' I was, of course, overwhelmed 
with mortification, and replied: Tt does not matter 
about my size, but it does make a very great deal of 
difference about our relations. I spoke without 
thinking or realizing what I was saying. I retract the 
language and ask the gentleman's pardon,' and sat 
down in confusion. I had hardly taken my seat be- 
fore Aycock had crossed the hall, dropped into the 
seat next to me, and putting his arms around my 
shoulders, said: *It's all right, Jim. Don't let this 
worry you. I knew you didn't mean it, and it shan't 
affect our friendship.'" 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 27 

No incident of Aycock's college career shows the 
position of leadership which he so quickly attained 
more clearly than his election as chief marshal in his 
first year. The chief marshalship was the most 
coveted social honor of student life. The office 
alternated from year to year between the two societies. 
In Aycock's first year it came to the Phi Society, and 
early in January, 1878, Frank Wood, of Edenton, was 
chosen, but a few days before Commencement he 
resigned in order to go to the Paris Exposition. Nat- 
urally the sub-marshals expected that one of their 
number would be promoted to the vacancy, and they 
were keenly disapjx)inted when the choice of the 
society fell upon Neal Archibald McLean, a popular 
law-student. The sub-marshals and their friends 
promptly protested to the Faculty against McLean's 
election on the ground that being a law-student he 
was ineligible for academic honors. The protest 
was argued at great length and with much warmth, 
and the Faculty, after deliberating all day, decided 
against McLean. This decision resulted in a contest 
long remembered by those who participated in it, one 
of whom. Prof. M. C. S. Noble, gives the following 
account of it: 

"McLean had not been elected through any bitter 
party fight, but simply because he was a popular fellow, 
and when the Faculty decided against him there was 
much indignation that the will of the society had been 
thwarted and that McLean, vice-president of the 
society, had been declared ineligible for a Commence- 
ment honor. At once McLean's friends determined 
not to permit the election of any of the sub-marshals 



28 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

who had led the fight against him. Accordingly, a 
party was formed determined to have no Faculty 
interference with the prerogatives of the society, and 
all over the campus, groups of students gathered to 
indulge in earnest and heated discussions. A caucus 
of the new party's managers was held, and Aycock, 
who had not wanted the honor, was made to take it 
because he, too, like McLean, was a popular fellow and 
had been an indefatigable fighter for McLean from the 
moment the contest started. The machine of the new 
party was composed of those who were in the caucus, 
and the faithful on the outside were told to wait for 
the nominating speech to learn the name of the candi- 
date agreed upon. When the society met and received 
the report of the Faculty, McLean tendered his resigna- 
tion, after which the President called for nominations. 
For a few minutes there was an intense stillness, each 
side waiting for the other to move first. Then a 
member rose and nominated one of the sub-marshals. 
The President asked if there were other nominations, 
and 'Neal Arch' McLean, addressing the chair, spoke 
plainly his opinion of the Faculty's action, thanked 
his friends for their support of him, and then with a 
voice full of emotion said, *There is one here who can 
serve you better than I, and I, therefore, nominate 
Charles B. Aycock.' The opposition was dumfounded, 
the vote was taken, and Aycock was elected. A 
student rushing out of the hall downstairs to the 
campus where the Di's were waiting to hear the news, 
yelled * Ay cock!' which the crowd received with tri- 
umphant shouts and cheers, while the college bell 
chimed in and lent its voice to the celebration." 




> B 









< c 

I 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 29 

"At Commencement in June, following his election," 
relates Judge Daniels, "whether by the procurement 
of some humorous friend or some jealous rival, or by- 
one of those accidents which defy explanation, as he 
led the academic procession, arrayed in all the glory 
of Chief Marshal, the band struck up the then popular 
tune, 'See the Mighty Host Advancing, Satan lead- 
ing On,' much to the amusement of his friends and 
somewhat to his own discomfort." 

Thus within a single year Aycock had become the 
leader of the largest and most influential group of 
students in the University. His leadership had come 
not through scholarship, though he was by no means 
deficient in scholarship, but through the larger and 
richer life of the campus, where the college man's 
capacity for leadership is tested and developed. 
College-life is nothing less than world-life in miniature, 
and he who would lead the one, as well as he who 
would lead the other, must understand men rather 
than books. Professor Williams describes this college 
hfe at the University of North Carolina as "the long 
walk after supper when two men talk together of their 
hopes, their principles, their visions, their deeper selves. 
It is the hour of communion in the old room after 
midnight, when the day's work is done, the light burns 
low, and soul speaks to soul. It is the banter and 
raillery and fun of the crowd on the steps of the build- 
ing for an hour after supper. It is the struggle on the 
campus for leadership. It is the rigid and swift 
judgment of the student body. It is the impartial 
application of standards. The judgments of this 
campus are to me the finest in the world. Hypocrisy 



30 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

does not long live here. The writ of value is honesty. 
In this sphere Aycock found his place. He saw here 
the food upon which right manhood must feed. He 
opened wide his mind and spirit. He loved it with all 
the depth of his great nature." He studied it, he 
conquered it, and he led it as he willed. It is needless 
to add that it was this training which fitted him to be 
the leader of his people in the great crises of 1898 and 
1900. 

It is evident that Charles Aycock made a deep and 
lasting impression on his fellow students and on the 
University. We should leave this chapter of his life 
incomplete if we failed to point out, though ever so 
briefly, the impression which the University made upon 
him. The University of North Carolina was estab- 
lished to train men for the service of the State. The 
true "University man" understands this, and accepts 
his education at her hands knowing that, if he be true 
to her teaching, he is under the highest sort of obligation 
to use the increased power which he receives through 
her training not for his own advancement, but for the 
good of the Commonwealth. When the State re- 
quires his service, he knows that he is expected to give 
it freely and cheerfully, regardless of any personal 
losses and sacrifices. Such has always been her 
teaching; and such has always been the spirit of her 
sons. 

No man understood this better than Charles B. 
Aycock. He knew that out of the old University of 
ante-bellum days had come such men as Murphey and 
Wiley and Battle, and many others who had heard the 
call of the State and had never failed to respond. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 31 

Standing upon the day of his graduation, as we have 
already said, at a transition period in the life of the 
University and of the State, he, too, heard a call for a 
new and distinct service. Mclver heard it, and Alder- 
man, and Joyner, and Noble. Each responded after 
his own fashion, but all had the same object in view. 
Shortly before his graduation Aycock caused to be 
debated in the Phi Society this query, ''Ought The 
Public School System of North Carolina to be 
AboUshed.^" while the same evening he himseK, as 
Senior orator, discussed in an elaborate oration, *' North 
Carolina's Deficiency and Our Duty." He had caught 
a vision of an old Commonwealth re-made and re- 
vivified through universal education, and he went 
forth from the University pledged to give to that 
cause the best services of his life. 



CHAPTER III 

THE FOUNDATIONS ON WHICH AYCOCK BUILT 
HIS CHARACTER 

WE SHALL not attempt in this volume to fol- 
low an exact chronological order. The most 
significant thing about a man is not a rec- 
ord of dates and deeds, but the silent development of 
his character. It is much as Carlyle says — that "the 
Event, the thing which can be spoken of and recorded, " 
is in most cases a disruption, a break, while the real 
growth has gone on in silence: as "the oak grows 
silently in the forest a thousand years " with no " event " 
to note until in the thousandth year it falls. 

Before proceeding with the events of Aycock's life, 
therefore, let us pause to consider the foundations on 
which he built his character. That these foundations 
were laid before he completed his college course and 
before he began his career at the bar, we are assured; 
and it is necessary to understand them in order to 
understand the man. However, in attempting this 
estimate we shall have to select significant manifesta- 
tions of his character from many periods of his career. 

There are several single sentences that seem to give 
snapshots, as it were, of Aycock. We have already 
quoted some of them: Bishop Kilgo's saying: "He lived 
out his whole life under the despotism of duty, " Archi- 

32 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 33 

bald Johnson's: *'He won great love because he was a 
great lover," and Elder Gold's: *'He had the simplicity 
of sincerity, and the sincerity of simplicity. " 

Yet it often happens that in some moment of self- 
revelation a man unconsciously utters the best charac- 
terization of himself. So it seems to us that Aycock, 
but ten days before the end, and while the death-angel 
already beckoned him from a task he was never to 
finish, gave p>erhaps the best one-sentence characteri- 
zation of himself when he read his friends from the 
unfinished manuscript of the speech he had prepared 
for delivery on April 12th: "For I am a plain and 
simple man who loves his friends, and has never been 
hated enough by any man to make him hate again in 
return. " 

Love — simphcity. These were indeed the ruling 
principles of Aycock's Hfe. It is hard to reahze that a 
man could have been the leader in the mighty cam- 
paigns of 1898 and 1900, when the primal passions of 
race-feeling were stirred to white heat, and could also 
have dared all uncharitableness in four years of strenu- 
ous devotion to duty as Governor, and yet not have 
made an enemy. But so it was. And when in the 
sunshine of the April morning a sorrowing State wel- 
comed back his body to the soil he loved, there were 
none who spoke him more fair in death than those 
whom he had met as rivals in fierce debate. Judge 
Jeter C. Pritchard uttered the sentiment of men of all 
parties when he wrote: "He was incapable of anything 
small or mean, above all low suspicion, bearing no 
malice in his heart. At times he was called upon to 
say and do things that for the moment were unpopular. 



34 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

but he had the moral courage and the manhood to do 
right regardless of consequences." 

Perhaps no other man in Southern history, except 
Aycock's great ideal, General Lee, has ever fought any 
great fight with as little bitterness as Aycock fought 
his. The writer has heard Capt. E. E. Lovell, of Wa- 
tauga, tell of hearing General Lee give orders in battle: 
"We must attack those people at yonder point." It 
was simply "those people": never "the Yankees," or 
"the enemy," but "those people." 

"Hate the sin, but love the sinner," is an old the- 
ological doctrine; and Aycock, denouncing Republican- 
ism, yet liked Republicans. In fact, he was most 
effective as a speaker because while powerfully arraign- 
ing what he regarded as a bad cause he would persuade 
and convince its advocates rather than anger them. 
In a letter now before us, a friend tells of hearing Ay- 
cock in Goldsboro in 1898, when the bitterness of that 
memorable campaign was at its height. He was inter- 
rupted in a flight of masterly eloquence by some one 
who called out, "Give it to Butler!" Says our cor- 
respondent: "He stopped his speech, and from the 
grandest oratory, descended to that gentle, persuasive 
tone peculiar to him, and replied in the following words : 
*No, my friend, in this our supreme hour of victory, I 
will abuse no man!'" 

This was characteristic of Aycock — not that he did 
not speak with terrific earnestness and force, and with 
powerful conviction, but that he always spoke for 
something, not against something. He was speaking 
in 1898 not against the negro, but for the white man 
— for the white man's inherent right to rule as a con- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 35 

dition necessary to the welfare of both races. "I 
like a man who is for somebody, who is for something,*' 
he wrote but a few months before he died, "not a man 
who is against somebody, or against something." In 
other words, he beheved in a life of positiveness, not of 
negation; of love, not of hate. In Doctor van Dyke's 
fine phrase, he "was governed by his admirations, not 
by his disgusts." And very early in his career he found 
in Tennyson's "Maud," the poem which he loved from 
his youth up, and which he knew almost by heart, an 
expression which may be regarded as the keynote of 
his endeavors: 

"It is better to fight for the good than to rail at the ill." 

Aycock believed as strongly as anybody in remedy- 
ing the evils of trusts, but it was not because he was 
against trusts, but because he was for justice. No one 
was more earnestly opposed to the freight discrimina- 
tions against the State, but it was not that he was 
against the railroads but for equality. No North 
Carolinian ever more powerfully arraigned the pro- 
tective tariff, but this was not that he was against capi- 
tal but for right. His tendencies were constructive, 
not destructive; positive, not negative. He would 
crowd out evil by supplanting it with good — just as in 
boyhood he kept a field from growing weeds by sowing 
wheat on it. The Biblical injunction, "Whatsoever 
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely; think on 
these things," — rather than on their opposites — 
was never lost on him. It was because of this fact that 
Aycock's nature was ever sweet, wholesome and serene. 
Emerson observed a long time ago: "It is easy in the 



36 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in 
solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he 
who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweet- 
ness the independence of solitude." This is what Ay- 
cock did. When criticism of his "universal education" 
policy was fiercest, and it was said, "Ay cock couldn't 
even be elected a constable in Wayne County," he sat 
in the Governor's ojBBce, smoked his long-stem pipe and 
viewed the situation with composure indeed, but not 
with a mere stoical, martyr-like conviction that he had 
done his duty as he saw it and must take the conse- 
quences. That sort of feeling — which may put iron 
into a man's blood but will certainly rob it of its warmth 
— was not Aycock's spirit at all. He not only knew 
that he had done his duty and that all the powers of 
earth could not make him swerve from it, but he had a 
perfect trust in the people: absolute confidence that 
they would sooner or later come to recognize not only 
the integrity of his purpose but the wisdom of his policy. 
And in this spirit, in the very middle of his adminis- 
tration, he concluded his message to the Legislature of 
1903 with these words : " There is but one way to serve 
the people well, and that is to do the right thing, trust- 
ing them, as they may ever be trusted, to approve the 
things which count for the betterment of the State." 

Serena was Aycock's mother's name, and he in- 
herited from her Quaker blood something of the fine 
quality which her name suggested. *'I never know- 
ingly read any article about me written in a spirit of 
either praise or blame," he said to the writer but a few 
months before his death. " If it's praise, it may unduly 
excite my vanity; if blame, it might arouse some ani- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 37 

mosity." In harmony with this statement is a story 
of Dr. J. Y. Joyner's. Disagreeing with Aycock, about 
a matter in which they were both interested, he finally 
sent Aycock a letter written in some heat. Regretting 
this on more mature reflection, he wrote in apology and 
received substantially this reply: **Your first letter 
was received, but I suspected it was a warm number, 
and it has never been opened. I am returning it to 
you." Rev. Livingston Johnson also gives this inci- 
dent : '* Just before he retired as Governor, I wrote him 
congratulating him upon his successful administration, 
and commending especially his constructive interest 
in education. He replied promptly, thanking me for 
the letter, and said that he turned over all such letters to 
his daughter who wished to preserve them, but the ones 
bearing adverse criticism he destroyed and forgot." 

This may seem to have little to do with our initial 
declaration regarding love and simplicity — or better, 
love and sincerity — as the dominating qualities of 
Ay cock's life; but in fact, it has much. It was because 
he loved and trusted his fellows and believed in them 
that he had this serene confidence in their rightness, 
and kept his faith that the good and wholesome things 
are the significant things and the only things which 
one should regard or remember. In the most eloquent 
sermon the writer ever heard from a North Carolina 
minister. Bishop Kilgo pointed out that the Almighty's 
estimate of a man is the sublimest moral height the 
man ever reaches — just as Barrie's '* Little Minister" 
insists that, **To see the best is to see most clearly," 
and Browning's "Abt Vogler" declares that all good 
shall perish " with, for evil, so much good more." Such 



462457 



38 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

was Governor Aycock's doctrine. Judge Hoke has 
referred to him as the finest exemplification of Lowell's 
sentiment: 

" Be noble ! And the nobleness that lies 
In other men sleeping but never dead. 
Will rise in majesty to meet thine own." 

He maintained that one should believe in the best 
in people. "You can't help a child do better by re- 
minding him of mistakes and shortcomings," he would 
say, "point out to him the possibilities and rewards of 
worthy conduct in the future." Even one's errors 
and failures were not valueless to a sincerely aspiring 
man, he insisted; and that 

" Men may rise on stepping stones 
Of their dead selves to higher things," 

was one of his most frequently used Tennysonian 
quotations. 

It should not be assumed, however, that Aycock was 
easily deceived by men. He was not. On the con- 
trary, he had something of a woman's intuitive prompt- 
ness in "sizing up" any one to whom he was introduced, 
and his judgment was seldom in error. He simply 
preferred in all things to emphasize the good he saw 
rather than the bad. 

Nor should any one suppose that Aycock was ever 
of the flattering, back-slapping, indiscriminately [ef- 
fusive type of politician. No man was freer from such 
faults. In fact, if he had to choose between abusing a 
man a little to his face, or paying compliments he did not 
believe deserved, he would undoubtedly have chosen 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 39 

to abuse him a little, because flattery would have im- 
plied insincerity, which fault of all faults he was freest 
from. He loved his friends, but he respected Emerson's 
doctrine that one "should never by word or look 
overstep one's real sympathy." He knew how to ex- 
press his regard for any one he cared for, but he did this 
in such a way as never to appear effusive. As some 
one said just after his death: "Charlie could let you 
know that he loved you without ever having to say so 
in words." If, therefore, one should accept Judge 
Pritchard's estimate, "As a friend I knew him best; 
there was no truer, sweeter, more affectionate man," 
it should always be with the further understanding that 
Aycock was never, to use his own excellent phrase, 
"too sweet to be wholesome." In fact, I think he 
should hardly have liked for any one to accuse him of 
having "a sweet nature," unless some recognition of 
his robust manliness were added. Virile, courageous, 
and almost literally "six foot Al of man, clean grit and 
human natur'," he impressed many others as he did 
Prof. J.I. Foust who says : "He was without doubt the 
bravest man with whom I have ever come into contact." 
With all Aycock's high ideals, therefore, and his 
hatred of everything mean and sordid — if, indeed, one 
should not even here use the positive term and rather 
say his love of everything high and worthy — the writer 
never heard him utter a word that sounded like 
" preaching. " He hated cant as much as he hated vicious- 
ness, and hypocrisy as much as he hated meanness. 
In extreme cases he might openly rebuke the guilty — 
as when some classmates used unfair methods in an 
election at Chapel Hill, or when his soul flamed out in 



40 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

hot indignation at some lewd fellows on a train who 
told unclean stories in the presence of a little boy — 
but such instances were rare. He preferred rather to 
do as General Lee did, of whom he wrote : 

"Lee did not criticise his people; he did not reprove 
them; he did not even tell them what the best things in 
life were. He just simply lived among them the very 
best things that there are in life. He was himself the 
best thing, and in this way he has done more to lift us 
up than any amount of speech or writing can ever do." 

Aycock was, in the correct meaning of the phrase, 
the most natural man the writer has ever known. He 
was not the most natural man in the sense in which 
Walt Whitman would have used the term, meaning 
simply the most natural animal; but he was the most 
natural man — a being in whom body, mind, and soul 
were properly coordinated; a being who could feel the 
soul's "passion for eternity" as well as "the wild joys of 
living" in the physical sense, or the intellectual delight 
of following knowledge like a sinking star "beyond the 
utmost bound of human thought." He was a well- 
rounded man — Shakespeare's ideal in whom the ele- 
ments were so mixed up — and having body, mind, and 
soul in symmetry, he was natural in the sense of having 
a sort of divine disregard of all pretense or affectation. 
His unfeigning, untroubled nature would have rejoiced 
the heart of sham-hating Emerson. "He was just 
the same in the courthouse or the drawing room," as 
a newspaper man remarked of him; and that acute ob- 
server, Erwin Avery wrote truly: "Ay cock's curious 
consistency of character impresses one more than any- 
thing else in his make-up. I have seen him in an old 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 41 

dressing gown, smoking a short clay pipe; have seen 
him surrounded by flattering women, have seen him 
stand within four feet of the President of the United 
States and make a speech that was admittedly better 
than the speech of the President, and yet I could see 
no difference in the Governor or the man. He is a 
rare being who is absolutely devoid of pretense or 
affectation." 

The other basis of Aycock's character, along with 
love of his fellows and an unusual measure of sim- 
plicity and sincerity, was a profound religious faith. Or, 
perhaps, we should rather say that a profound religious 
faith was the basis of all that was finest in his character, 
including this love of others which, we are told, is "the 
fulfilling of the law,*' and sincerity which is but an- 
other name for truth, the basis of all virtue. Cer- 
tainly no one believed more strongly than Aycock 
himself that character, to be stable, must have a re- 
ligious basis. In his tribute to the Moravians at the 
Salem Centennial he said: "They attempted to carry 
out to the fullest the injunction *to love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with 
all thy strength,' and in doing this they were able to 
love their neighbors as themselves. For it is a truth 
that we can only love our neighbors as we love our- 
selves, for any length of time and with any certainty, 
when we have obeyed the first injunction. The real 
Abou Ben Adhem can only exist in him who has first 
set his heart upon God, for no one truly loves his 
fellowman who does not first love Him who made his 
fellowman." 

Let us repeat that Aycock had a deeply religious 



42 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

nature. With religious ceremonials, creeds, and forms 
he was not much concerned; and his irregularity in 
church attendance during his more strenuous years 
might have been misunderstood by those who set much 
store by the outward form as well as by the inward 
essence of religion. Old Samuel Johnson, one must 
admit, was doubtless right in saying that religion, "of 
which the rewards are distant and which is animated 
only by faith and hope," needs to be constantly "in- 
vigorated and reimpressed by external ordinances, by 
stated calls to worship," etc; but what we are con- 
cerned with now is only to set down the simple fact 
that Aycock — like his sturdy, Cromwellian English 
forbears — had an innate and profound religious sense, 
although not active as a "church worker" after his 
strength became taxed with official duties. As a mat- 
ter of fact, meetings, societies, functions, etc., of any 
kind had little attraction for him. He was a home 
lover, and his law practice took him so much away from 
home that it was hard for anything to draw him out 
when it was possible for him to enjoy the quiet of home 
and family life. 

Ex- Judge Robert W. Winston has written : "Ay cock's 
faith in God was sublime. He had no more doubt of 
the divinity of Jesus Christ than he had of his own 
existence. He once said: *that the best thing about 
the Christian religion to him was that your sins were 
not only forgiven, but blotted out.' " 

Talking of the matter recently. Dr. J. Y. Joynersaid: 

"Aycock connected himself with the Baptist Church 
while he was a student at the University. A. C. Dixon, 
a brother of Thomas Dixon, was pastor of the Baptist 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 43 

Church in the village at that time and roomed in col- 
lege. He was a vigorous, magnetic young man and had 
great influence with the boys. He is now pastor of 
Spurgeon's Church in London. In a protracted meet- 
ing conducted by him in the old Baptist Church of the 
little village, a number of students — thirty or forty, 
according to my recollection — professed conversion 
and connected themselves with the various churches 
in the village. Aycock and I were among the number 
that joined the Baptist Church in that meeting. He 
was exceedingly earnest and sincere about this as about 
everything else. We were baptized one beautiful 
Sunday by Mr. Dixon, in Purefoy's millpond, about 
two miles from the little village of Chapel Hill." 

Young Aycock subsequently walked three or four 
miles in the country every Sunday afternoon to engage 
in Sunday-school work, and was effective in interesting 
other young men in religion. After returning to Golds- 
boro and joining the Baptist Church there, he continued 
active as a Bible teacher, although sometimes haunted, 
as he confessed to Rev. Dr. T. M. Hufham, by recollec- 
tions of anti-Sunday-school teachings in the creed of his 
primitive Baptist ancestors. 

Throughout his life he kept the simple, serene and 
sincere faith to which he gave utterance in one of his 
Thanksgiving proclamations: '*For all these blessings 
we owe acknowledgment to the Lord. Things do not 
happen, but the hand of God is in every happiness 
that comes to our people." 

On these three things therefore, the character of 
Charles Brantley Aycock was grounded: Faith in God, 
love of his fellows, and absolute freedom from all pre- 
tenses or affectation. And no man ever began a hfe 
or built a character on any better foundation. 



CHAPTER IV 



AYCOCK AS A LAWYER 



A YCOCK began the study of law with Dr. Kemp 
/^ P. Battle during his Senior year at the Uni- 
-^ -^ varsity, completing the course under the 
direction and instruction of Mr. A. K. Smedes, a 
lawyer of marked ability and learning of the Goldsboro 
bar. He received his license from the Supreme Court 
at the January Term, 1881. Among the members of 
the class admitted to the bar at this term were William 
R. Allen, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 
(1911), Rodolph Duffy, Solicitor (1905), John H. 
Small, Member of Congress (1898-1912), Francis D. 
Winston, Judge Superior Court (1903) and Lieutenant- 
Governor (1904), Thurston T. Hicks, F. A. Cline, 
Judge Superior Court (1910) and Frank A. Daniels, 
Judge Superior Court (1911). An intimate friendship 
with the last named, formed while at school and main- 
tained at the University, resulted in a partnership at 
Goldsboro, which, with the interruption of the four- 
year term as Governor, continued until Aycock's re- 
moval to Raleigh during the year 1909. At the time 
of his admission and entrance upon the practice, the 
Goldsboro bar was composed of Hon. William T. 
Dortch, Judge William T. Faircloth, Mr. Smedes, 
Col. William A. Allen, Mr. Isaac F. Dortch, Mr. H. F. 

44 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 45 

Grainger and Hon. W. S. O'B. Robinson, all strong, 
well-equipped lawyers. Mr. Dortch was the recog- 
nized leader of the bar of the then Fourth Circuit in 
which the firm of Aycock and Daniels sought and soon 
secured a strong position. Judge George V. Strong had 
removed to Raleigh but retained his practice at Golds- 
boro as the partner of Mr. Smedes. After the death 
of the latter he became the senior member of the firm 
of Strong, Aycock and Daniels. In other counties 
Aycock met and shared in the courthouse business 
with a number of strong and able lawyers. 

No better test can be applied to the metal of which a 
lawyer is made than the type of those with whom he 
is called into honorable rivalry. In the contests of the 
bar it is especially true that only the worthy reach large 
and permanent success. That Aycock, by close atten- 
tion to business, dihgent study of the books, successful 
management of causes committed to his care and his 
qualities as a man and a lawyer, soon acquired and 
retained an honorable position and successful practice 
among this body of lawyers, is proof that he was justly 
entitled to rank high in his vocation. For learning, 
high standard of professional life and conduct, loyal 
devotion to the interests of their clients and civic dutj% 
honorable ambition pursued by honorable methods, 
these lawyers and citizens have had no superiors in the 
State. The social and professional relations established 
and uniformly sustained between the young members 
and their elders of the Goldsboro bar, the fatherly 
interest and affection exhibited by the seniors for the 
juniors and their veneration for the elders was a source 
of pleasure to the first and of inspiration to the latter. 



46 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Aycock very early developed the remarkable power 
for forensic debate, which had manifested itself at 
school and in the literary society of the University. 
While in no degree neglecting the first requisite of a 
well-furnished lawyer — the study of the law — he 
found his chief interest and his constant delight in the 
courthouse, before the judge and jury. Beginning with 
no estate or source of income upon which to rely 
during the days of waiting for clients and fees, he prac- 
tised economy, lived within his income and laid the 
foundation broad and deep for the large success which 
awaited him. When it had come, and he was in the 
enjoyment of its rewards, he often recalled the fact 
that, during his first year at the bar, he received but 
$144, saying, "I worked night and day to make it. I 
paid twelve dollars a month for my board and bor- 
rowed the money to pay for my clothes. I made $144, 
and that is all I ought to have made." 

Probably no partnership was ever formed by two 
young lawyers more congenial in its personal, or more 
happily adjusted in its professional and business re- 
lations than that of Aycock and Daniels which had 
found its origin in the sympathy and confidence of inti- 
mate friendship of school and classmates. Both partners 
had honorable aspirations and high ideals which guided 
and controlled their lives. Temperamentally they dif- 
fered and in such difference was found the perfect 
adjustment in their work. Each found his chief pleas- 
ure in the practice of his profession in those departments 
best suited to his taste. Their relations continued to the 
end in all respects cordial, sympathetic and affectionate 
— honorable to both. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 47 

With that confidence in his ability to meet and dis- 
charge those responsibilities and duties in life which 
result from and are incident to the growth of full man- 
hood, so soon as he was settled down to w^ork young 
Aycock entered into the estate of matrimony with her 
whom his boyish "favor singled." One is reminded of 
Chancellor Kent's "Memoranda": "I was admitted 
to the bar of the Supreme Court in January, 1785, at 
the age of twenty-one, and then married, without one 
cent of property, for my education exhausted all my 
resources and left me in debt which it took me three or 
four years to discharge. Why did I marry? I answer 
that, at the farmer's house, where I boarded, a little 
modest, lovely girl of fourteen, gradually caught my 
attention and insensibly stole upon my affections and, 
before I thought of love or knew what it was, I was most 
violently affected. I was twenty-one and my wife 
sixteen when we married." With slight variations, this 
is the story of Charles Aycock's love affair and the 
fulfilment of its dream. 

Until 1893, Aycock prosecuted his profession with 
constantly increasing reputation and success. During 
these years he attended the courts of the old Fourth 
District, appearing in many of the important litigated 
cases. His services were frequently called for in 
capital and important civil causes in other sections. 

During the campaign of 1892 he canvassed the State 
as candidate for Presidential Elector and, upon the 
accession of Mr. Cleveland to the Presidency, was 
appointed United States District Attorney for the 
Eastern District of North Carolina. This was the first 
office which he held, other than the superintendency of 



48 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

the public schools of Wayne County and the chairman- 
ship of the Board of Trustees of the Goldsboro Graded 
Schools. For four years he discharged the duties of 
District Attorney with marked ability and satisfaction 
to the Administration and the people. Hon. Augustus 
S. Seymour, the District Judge at that time, a lawyer of 
profound learning and eminent ability, held him in 
very high esteem, no less on account of his personal 
qualities than his professional attainments — a senti- 
ment cordially reciprocated by the District Attorney. 
While discharging the duties of this position, he re- 
tained and increased his practice in the state courts 
imposing onerous labor and constant attention. Upon 
the coming in of Mr. McKinley he retired from the posi- 
tion and, until his election and inauguration as Governor 
(1901), he devoted himself to the large and extensive 
practice which had come to the firm as the reward of the 
labors of his partner and himself and reputation for 
ability and devotion to their clients. 

After four years of service to the State, Governor 
Ay cock returned to Goldsboro and resumed the prac- 
tice of the law, taking the place in the office and busi- 
ness kept open for him by the loyal friend and partner 
of his young manhood. It was known to his intimate 
friends — he was not of the kind to speak to others of 
such matters — that he left his high official position, 
after rendering honorable and invaluable service to the 
State, involved in debt to an amount which, to a North 
Carolina lawyer with a large family, was depressing. 
He had lived, during the term of his office, with modest 
economy and becoming dignity, but the salary was 
small and the demands upon the Chief Executive large. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 49 

Important professional engagements promptly came to 
him and, with courage and devotion to duty, he began 
the work of paying his indebtedness and discharging 
his obligations to his household. 

It soon became apparent, however, that his place was 
in the capital of the State. His love of the people, 
among whom he had spent his young manhood, who had 
always been kind and considerate, promoting, by gen- 
erous sympathy and active aid, his aspirations, caused 
him to hesitate long to change his home. He 
moved to Raleigh, forming a copartnership with 
Judge Robert W. Winston, who came from Durham. 
The association was, in all respects, happy. Both 
were strong, well-equipped laTN^ers, enjoying a large 
cHentage and prepared to receive and care for the 
large and lucrative business which sought their 
service. During the last two years of his life Aycock's 
health began to fail, but he met and discharged the 
demands upon his physical and mental powers with 
his accustomed energy and abiHty. The new firm 
received a large share of business both personal and 
corporate. Although the scene of his largest suc- 
cess and greatest triumphs had been in the trial of 
causes, Governor Aycock was recognized as a wise, 
safe counselor in large business affairs requiring 
accurate knowledge of commercial and corporation 
law. The reputation of a lawyer necessarily rests rather 
upon tradition than historical permanence; but few of 
his addresses to courts and juries are written or even, at 
this day, taken stenographically. They are so largely 
confined to the facts of the instant case that it is diffi- 
cult to preserve, for any considerable time, a living 



50 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

interest in them. A graphic description of Governor 
Aycock, at his best, as an advocate, is given by Bishop 
Kilgo: 

"His great soul, poured itself out in defence of any 
cause in which he had faith. Every wrong, every in- 
justice, every harmful tendency and every need made 
his heart flame with the passion of resentment. Charles 
Aycock could not tolerate evil, he could not endure 
unfairness. When he stood in the courts to defend 
some cause, whether of the great or the small, he always 
went far beyond the mere limitations of a business con- 
tract. He seemed to forget his client and the one thing 
that seized him with dreadful grip was the thought of 
possible injustice and undeserved pain and, under this 
pressure, his voice, as he stood before the Court, rang 
with a note of imperial protest, his fine eye flashed with 
the fires of burning indignation, his splendid and noble 
face quivered with the emotion of an outraged soul and 
his magnificent body, erect and commanding, trembled 
with the bursting dynamics of an irresistible intent. 
In such a moment what a picture of mediatorial service 
he was. Who that ever saw him, at such a time, will 
forget the scene. He was a glorious example of a 
mighty man, who knew how to respond, with heart and 
conscience, and hand and voice, to the call of righteous- 
ness, as he heard it and as he felt it." 

The impression made upon men by his intensity of 
language and manner, as an advocate, is illustrated by 
the prayer of an old colored man, whom it was his duty 
to prosecute while District Attorney. *'0 Lord, have 
mercy upon Mr. Aycock, but, O Lord, tame him down, 
tame him down!'* 

Says one who knew him well: "He loved the prac- 
tice of the law — its contests in the courthouse — it 
made no difference to him whether the fee was five 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 51 

dollars and the client a poor man, or five hundred and 
the client a rich one — he put himself into the contest 
and forgot all else save his client and his cause." 
Judge Daniels well says: "It was one of the great 
exi>eriences of a lifetime, not to be forgotten, to have 
seen him at his best for the defendant in a capital case, 
contesting every inch, watching every development, 
resisting the introduction of damaging testimony, pro- 
tecting his chent from every aspersion and, when the 
case went to the jury, rising to the height of the occa- 
sion, dissecting every portion of the testimony, laying 
bare every motive of the prosecution and witnesses, 
exposing every fallacy and every falsehood, tearing 
away every mask of hyprocrisy with the power of 
reason, ridicule, satire and invective; constructing upon 
the evidence an impregnable defence, fortifying it with 
every argument, calling to his aid every resource known 
to ingenuity and sustaining it with overpowering elo- 
quence until the prisoner was acquitted amid the 
plaudits of the spectators and the approval of the 
Court." 

He was very happy in the cross-examination of wit- 
nesses — one of the highest and most essential accom- 
plishments of a trial la^^er. A striking and amusing 
instance is given by one present at the trial of a case 
brought by a man for damages against a railroad com- 
pany for alleged personal injury. He claimed that his 
sense of hearing had been seriously impaired. After 
the plaintiff had given a most affecting display of his 
injury, with appropriate paraphernalia, Governor 
Aycock began the cross-examination by a line of ques- 
tions interesting to the witness, but having no relation 



52 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

to his alleged injury. In a soft, low tone of voice he led 
the plaintiff along until, almost in a whisper, he ob- 
tained prompt answers to his questions, the witness 
forgetting the part which he was playing when, sud- 
denly, Aycock said aloud, "I thought you couldn't 
hear." The cross-examination had the desired effect. 
He seldom attacked a witness, never doing so unless 
assured that the witness was endeavoring to deceive 
the jury and that this was the only mode of exposure. 

He was fair and courteous to counsel, although when 
he felt and thought the occasion or the conduct de- 
manded, he was crushing in humor and, rarely, but 
sometimes, sarcasm. He fought fairly, in perfect 
candor and good temper, giving and taking lusty 
blows. While absolutely free from flattery or undue 
complacency to the judge, he was frank and courteous, 
with personal and professional dignity of manner and 
language, bold and courageous in presenting and press- 
ing his view of the law. One, before whom he fre- 
quently appeared in the trial of causes and the argu- 
ment of appeals, bears testimony that, whether in dis- 
sent or agreement with his views, he always bore him- 
self with the courtesy, the dignity, the manner and 
language of a lawyer and a gentleman. He knew his 
own rights and those of his client — he maintained both 
under all circumstances, according to others the same 
meed of right. Nothing more can be, or should be, 
said of a true lawyer. 

While always reverent in the use of Biblical quoia- 
tions in the argument of causes, he was very happy in 
their appropriate use. A striking illustration is found 
in the trial of a case of great interest and importance 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 53 

during the last year of his life. He represented the 
American Tobacco Company. In the opening argument 
counsel for plaintiff had dwelt, at length, and with much 
force, upon the magnitude, the wrongdoing and the 
monopolistic power of the defendant. Governor Ay- 
cock began his argum^ent by referring to these observa- 
tions, reading to the jury, in a tone of impressive 
solemnity, the words of Leviticus: "Ye shall do no 
unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect 
the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the 
mighty, but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy 
neighbor." The effect upon the jury and the by- 
standers was manifest. 

He loved justice, he hated injustice, but he always 
insisted that, in administering justice in the courts, 
both judge and jury should administer that justice 
which was guaranteed by "the law of the land." He 
believed that it was the right of every person to have 
justice administered according to law. He, therefore, 
had respect for precedent and authority, believing 
that ours is a government of laws and not of men. He 
believed in democracy, but in representative govern- 
ment, the people being the source of sovereign power 
and the laws made and declared by them, through their 
representatives, both legislative and judicial, the meas- 
ure of every man's legal right and legal duty. No man 
more implicitly trusted the people, but no man more 
fully recognized the truth that the will of the people 
must be found in their organic law and not in their 
caprice or momentary, transitory opinions. His view 
regarding the distinction between the function of the 
legislature and the court is well stated in one of the last 



54 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of his arguments. In the trial of the case against the 
American Tobacco Company, referred to above, one 
of the opposing counsel had said to the jury that the 
strongest anti-trust speech he had ever heard was made 
by Governor Ay cock. To this Aycock replied : " Gen- 
tlemen, I expect that is true, and if he lives long enough 
he will hear another. But he will hear it in the forum 
for the making of laws. It is one thing to make a 
speech to the people who make the laws, but quite 
another thing to make a speech in this courthouse, where 
it is the duty of Your Honor and the jury not to make 
law but to construe and enforce existing law. If you 
ask me if the laws, on this subject, are adequate, I will 
say no; but what I do say, and say with all the sincerity 
of the most earnest conviction, is that these defendants 
have not put themselves within any law that has been 
written on any statute book anywhere." 

Only a few weeks before his death, presenting to the 
Supreme Court a portrait of the late Chief Justice Shep- 
herd, he thus expressed his thought regarding that system 
of refined moraHty administered by Courts of Equity: 

" To be a great equity lawyer involves not only much 
learning and culture of mind, but great quahties of 
heart as well. It is equivalent to saying that he was 
fair in his dealings with men, that he not only knew 
right and wrong in the abstract but in the daily prac- 
tice among men, that he realized obligations and duties, 
that he contemplated the beauty of trust and confidence 
and deprecated its abuse, that he was familiar with the 
Sermon on the Mount and believed it to be the best 
exposition extant of the duty of man." 

That he was absolutely fearless in the discharge of his 
duty to his client is no unusual praise of a real lawyer. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 55 

To have been otherwise would have been to forfeit not 
only his self-respect but his right to serve in the temple 
of justice. He expressed forcibly and clearly his atti- 
tude in this respect a short time before his death. 
Being called to defend a man who had, by his conduct, 
rendered himself odious to the right-thinking men of the 
community in which he lived, he felt that it was his 
duty to accept the employment. To the remonstrance 
of a citizen whom he respected, he said: 

**I have never understood that, in appearing for 
people charged with having committed offences, I was 
upholding either the offence or the offender. It is 
fundamental that every man should have a fair trial 
when he is indicted. If apprehension of unpopularity 
should be allowed by lawyers to keep them from ap- 
pearing for unpopular men, the unpopular man would 
be utterly unable to secure that fair hearing which is 
not only his right but is the safety of the people them- 
selves. I have profound convictions on this subject, 
and I would not forego them in order to win any office. 
I believe that the safety of our people lies in the right 
of every man to have counsel, and this right carries 
with it the duty of counsel to take whatever may come 
to them in consequence of their appearance." 

This truth he exemplified on all proper occasions. 
While he correctly held to and practised this view, he 
was very far from regarding himself or his services as a 
lawyer as open to all "business propositions." He 
drew the fine of demarcation with a clear conception of 
the distinction between the duty and function of the 
lawyer and the mere trader in the law. When, after he 
had acquired distinction and influence by his life of 
labor, and the honors bestowed upon him by the people, 



56 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

offers of regular employment by the year came to him 
from powerful corporate interests, he replied that he 
was willing to appear for any person or corporation in 
any individual case, but he would not sell his influence 
or accept employment which compelled him to serve 
them at all times, saying : " The people of North Caro- 
lina have honored me far beyond my deserts. They 
have done for me much more than I ever dreamed of. 
They have given me some degree of honor and of in- 
fluence among my fellow men and this position of mine 
is not for sale — money cannot buy it." 

As a student of history and constitutional develop- 
ment, he well understood that there must be growth 
and expansion to enable written constitutions to meet 
and adjust themselves to the wants of a free, progres- 
sive people; nevertheless he appreciated the lesson 
taught by experience that those limitations upon gov- 
ernment should be guarded with jealous care and 
strictly construed in behalf of the liberty of the citizen 
and the protection of his property. He was, in this 
respect, a strict constructionist. Speaking with some 
intensity of language of the creation by the legislature 
of local police courts with extended jurisdiction to hear 
cases against persons charged with crime, without 
presentment or indictment by a grand jury, or trial by 
a petit jury, imposing heavy fines and long terms of 
imprisonment at hard labor, he said: 

"I sincerely desired to startle the people. I am not 
accustomed to use polite phraseology when the liberties 
of the people are involved. We are wasting, in our 
hurry, the most precious heritage which a people ever 
had. Well-meaning men over-anxious for public econ- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 57 

omy and desirous of quick punishment have ever been 
eager to overthrow the barriers between government 
and persons charged with the commission of crime; 
but wise men, knowing the difficulty with which Hberty 
is estabHshed upon the face of the earth, and that the 
strong arm of the government is frequently reaching 
out for the innocent, are alert to shield the weak against 
the oppressive power of the strong, and are earnestly 
desirous of maintaining unimpaired the security which 
comes from the interposition of a grand jury between 
the citizen and the government. Let us remove not 
the ancient landmark which the fathers have set." 

That he was able to impress those against whom he 
appeared, with his powers and retain their good will, 
is illustrated by an incident when prosecuting a bad, 
dangerous man for crime, whom he denounced in 
strong terms. Upon coming out of the courthouse the 
defendant approached him, saying: "Mr. Ay cock, 
next time I want you for my lawyer and not against 
me." 

Many stories, with more or less adornment, are told 
on the circuit of Aycock's power of advocacy, of quick 
retort and humorous parrying of dangerous points, in 
the trial of causes. No one enjoyed more keenly a 
happy "turning of the tables" upon himself by witness 
or counsel. He enjoyed telling of the reply of the wit- 
ness whom he sought to confuse by suddenly asking: 
"Whom did you marry .^" "I married a woman." 
"Now isn't that a bright answer," retorted Aycock; 
"did you ever hear of anybody who didn't marry a 
woman?" "Well, yes," the witness quickly answered, 
"there is my sister — she married a man." The wit- 
ness was permitted to "stand aside." 



58 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Those who rode the circuit with Aycock will never 
forget, or cease to think with pleasure upon the social 
side of this experience. One of his favorite courts was 
Snow Hill, in Green County. There, in a large, comfort- 
able room in winter, with an open wood fire, the lawyers 
would gather after supper for pleasant conversation. 
Aycock, with his clay pipe, long reed root stem, dis- 
coursing upon poetry, politics, law and literature, was 
always genial, entertaining, sociable. He would some- 
times take an extreme position on some subject of 
controversy, maintain it with spirit and resourcefulness, 
never conceding an inch of ground, but permitting 
himself to be driven to most ultra positions until the 
midnight hour was far gone and the crowd would break 
up with Aycock insisting, in the most whimsical tones, 
that he had routed all opponents and held the palm of 
victory. The long walks along the banks of Content- 
nea Creek, with pleasant, light conversation, or remi- 
niscences of victories and defeats in the courthouse, 
would send all back with keen appetites to Mrs. Dail's 
bountiful table and restful beds. It was in these and 
such like associations that Aycock was the delightful 
companion, the interesting talker, the perfect lawyer 
"on the circuit." There are those who, in such ex- 
periences, came to sound the depths of his mind and 
heart, learned to feel something closely akin to manly 
love for him, and to receive in return his affection. 

His conceded ascendancy in the trial of causes has, 
to some extent, overshadowed his reputation and suc- 
cess in the argument of appeals in the Supreme Court. 
He preferred to talk to the "country" — the twelve 
"good and lawful men" — rather than those who dealt 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 59 

with the "printed record," to which counsel was con- 
fined." The "rules" always "bothered" him, and he 
humorously insisted that he could not learn them and 
w^as in constant fear of being "dismissed" for non- 
compliance wdth their "rigid requirements." But 
w^hen interested and aroused in an argument upon 
appeal, he was strong, resourceful, helpful and convinc- 
ing. He cited but few authorities — never a text- 
book. His arguments were usually upon "the reason 
of the thing," with apt quotations from " cases in point," 
or piquant expressions taken from opinions. He de- 
Ughted in the application of an old principle to a new 
" state of facts." Those who heard him in the Supreme 
Court recognized that if his taste had led him into that 
sphere of practice he would have excelled in an eminent 
degree. His power of analysis and of application of 
legal principles to the "case in hand" marked him as a 
lawyer of rare power. His briefs w^ere usually short, 
well prepared and helpful to the Court. 

He won high praise from the Justices of the Supreme 
Court of the United States by his argument in the 
"railroad rate case." Governor Glenn, who w^as 
present and deeply interested, has given an interesting 
description of Governor Aycock's manner and the 
impression made by him upon the Court. He says: 
"Ay cock began to speak in a low voice, almost in- 
audible, all present intently Hstening to hear him. 
The venerable Chief Justice remarked, *A little 
louder. Governor, if you please.' He raised his voice 
and slowly and deliberately proceeded to lay down the 
contentions of the State with forceful logic and ap- 
propriate quotations from decisions. As he spoke, 



60 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

his form seemed to expand, his eye sparkled, his 
hands moved in commanding gesture, until he closed 
in a grand peroration, insisting in dignified language 
upon the right of the State to control the railroads 
free from the interference of the Federal Courts. At the 
close, all within the bar gladly and warmly congratu- 
lated him upon his masterly argument and eloquent 
defence of the rights of the State, whose chosen ad- 
vocate he was." While he desired that no injustice 
be done the railroads, his convictions, acquired by 
heredity, education and experience, resented the inter- 
ference by the courts in the exercise of the sovereign 
rights of the State. Justice Harlan, who adopted his 
view in a strong, dissenting opinion, said to Governor 
Glenn: "You have a wonderful man in Governor 
Aycock,'* declaring that his dissenting opinion "was 
based almost entirely upon Aycock's argument." 

Any estimate of Governor Aycock as a lawyer would 
be incomplete which failed to emphasize his high 
ideals of the ethics of the profession and the practice of 
the law. In this respect he was well-nigh perfect. 
Both by precept and example he taught and practised, 
illustrated and emphasized the truth that the adminis- 
tration of justice is the highest duty as it is the highest 
privilege of man. The law, to him, was a jealous mis- 
tress demanding his best powers and most reverent ser- 
vice. In an active practice, in all of its departments, for 
more than a quarter of a century, no man thought or 
suggested that he had perverted justice, made falsehood 
to triumph, truth to be sacrificed, or used his privileges 
to minister in the courts for other than honorable 
ends by honorable means. 



CHAPTER V 

THE MENACE OF NEGRO SUFFRAGE 

WE APPROACH now a period of Aycock's 
career about which it is difficult to write 
without seeming to do so in the spirit of 
partisanship. We wish, therefore, at the very be- 
ginning to disclaim any consciousness of being influ- 
enced by such a spirit. Yet we realize that inasmuch 
as Aycock was himself a strong partisan, we should 
be not only untrue to history but also unjust to his 
fame were we to represent him in any other light. He 
believed sincerely in the principles of the party to 
which he was attached; consequently we shall be 
compelled to state some of those principles as strongly 
as possible in order to make clear the impelling motives 
and purposes of his life. He was passionately inter- 
ested in good government; therefore it will be nec- 
essary to write plainly of the system of state and local 
administration which he was so largely instrumental 
in overthrowing. He believed that the only hope of 
good government in North Carohna, and the other 
Southern States, rested upon the assured political 
supremacy of the white race; therefore the effect of 
negro supremacy in the political affairs of North 
Carolina must be clearly explained. The great 
poHtical movements of which he was Democracy's 

61 



62 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

chosen leader have now passed into history, and as 
history we shall attempt to describe them. 

Aycock was a Democrat, no less in the partisan than 
in the general meaning of the term, and no man has 
described what that term meant to him better than 
he, himseK. Said he: 

"I am a Democrat. I am not a conservative or a 
reactionary Democrat. I am not a progressive Demo- 
crat, for the word 'Democrat' with me is a noun sub- 
stantive of so fine and large import that it admits of 
no addition or diminution of any qualifying word or 
phrase. 

** What is a Democrat? He is an individualist. He 
believes in the right of every man to be and to make of 
himself what God has put into him. He is a man who 
believes and practises the doctrine of equal rights and 
the duty and obligation of seeing to it as far as he can 
that no man shall be denied the chances in life which 
God intended for him to have. He is a man who be- 
lieves in the Declaration of Independence, and who is 
filled with that spirit of equality which has made this 
country of ours the refuge of the oppressed of all the 
world and the hope of this age and of all ages to 
come. . . . 

"Equal! That is the word. On that word I plant 
myself and my party — the equal right of every child 
born on earth to have the opportunity 'to burgeon out 
all that there is within him.'" 

Herein we have the keynote not only of his pro- 
fessed political faith, but of his entire career of public 
service. 

Aycock's interest in politics began almost in his 
infancy. He was only six years of age when the Civil 
War came to a close and the people of North Carolina 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 63 

found themselves face to face with the task of reorgan- 
izing their social and political systems. The situation 
was full of peril and required the best thought and 
efforts of patriotic men. The boy Aycock, as we have 
already related, heard the problems of good govern- 
ment discussed around his father's fireside, and there 
learned that good government cannot be secured with- 
out the constant, unremitting efforts of the best citi- 
zens. He was so accustomed to hearing the terms 
"Democratic party" and "good government" asso- 
ciated together that he grew up in the firm and sincere 
belief that they were synonymous. As he grew in 
years the study of American history confirmed his 
faith in the principles of that party and intensified 
his predilection for politics. Returning from the 
University in 1880, full of youthful enthusiasm, he 
plunged at once into the political contests of his own 
community, and before he was of age canvassed Wayne 
County in the interest of the Democratic party. From 
that year until his death probably no campaign was 
waged in that county in which his voice was not heard 
in support of his party principles; and for many years 
it was customary for him to bring each campaign to a 
close by a speech in Goldsboro on the night before 
election. 

His reputation as a campaigner soon extended beyond 
the borders of his own county, and he was frequently 
drafted into service by the party in the neighboring 
counties. In 1888 he was nominated as the Demo- 
cratic candidate for district elector, and together with 
his opponent made a thorough canvass of the district. 
This campaign strengthened Aycock's powers and 



64 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

developed his sense of humor, of which his earlier 
speeches, we are told, had given little indication. 

The next four years added to his reputation, and in 
1892 the State Convention of the Democratic party 
nominated him for elector-at-large. This nomination 
brought with it a greater responsibility than usual. 
The newly organized People's party, drawing its 
strength mainly from the Democratic party, had 
entered the field with full state and national tickets. 
Low prices of agricultural products due, it was claimed, 
to the demonetization of silver, extravagance in the 
administration of the State government, and the 
"restoration of local self-government" in the counties 
and towns of the State, were the issues upon which 
the new party in North Carolina appealed to the 
people for support. Aycock, in common with other 
thoughtful men, realized that this movement threat- 
ened not merely the success of the Democratic 
party, but what was of far greater moment, the 
supremacy of the white race in North Carolina. 
The system of county government which the Pop- 
uhsts vigorously assailed had been made neces- 
sary by the presence in many of the eastern 
counties of a large and ignorant mass of negro voters, 
and was one of the results of the misrule of Recon- 
struction days. It dated from 1875, when the people, 
at the instance of the Democratic party, changed 
the Constitution and authorized the Legislature to 
provide for the government of the counties. Under 
that Constitution a system was provided which did 
indeed violate the principle of local self-government, 
but violated it in order that security of life, liberty 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 65 

and property might be maintained. "The counties 
of western North Carolina,'* as Governor Ay cock said, 
"gave up their much-loved right of local government 
in order to relieve their brethren of the east from the 
intolerable burden of negro government." For twenty 
years the Republican party had waged unceasing 
war against this system, but so long as the great ma- 
jority of the white voters of the State remained united 
their political supremacy in the eastern counties was 
in no danger. But now the Populist party, composed 
mainly of dissatisfied white voters who had left the 
Democratic party, also took up the fight on this issue, 
and thus began that division of the white voters which 
eventually resulted in the bad government, violence 
and bloodshed of 1898, and the adoption of the suffrage 
amendment of 1900. 

Foreseeing the evils, which the movement threat- 
ened. Ay cock threw himself into the campaign of 
1892 with all the vigor and energy of which he was 
capable. Opposed to him was the Populist candidate 
for elector-at-large, Mr. Marion Butler, and a series 
of joint discussions was arranged between them. 
Two oppK)nents could not have differed more in tem- 
perament and method. Mr. Butler was deliberate, 
incisive, and dispassionate; Aycock was vigorous, log- 
ical, and eloquent. Mr. Butler was argumentative 
and plausible; Aycock simple, direct, never trite nor 
vulgar, never subtle nor abstruse. It was Mr. Butler's 
task to convince, Aycock's to conciliate. Aycock had 
the power of putting his case in such a way as not 
to invite argument, so that his statements seemed 
to be less an expression of his own views than the con- 



66 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

elusions reached by his hearers themselves. No cam- 
paign since the Vance-Settle campaign of 1876 had 
attracted so much attention throughout the State, 
and the debates were heard by large crowds. Aycock 
more than measured up to the expectations of his 
friends. His speeches were marked by a decided 
advance in style, delivery and effectiveness, and im- 
pressed all who heard them not only with his fairness 
and wisdom, but also with his compelling personality 
and wonderful power in debate. 

Relying on the righteousness of his cause he re- 
frained from personalities, and scorned to take any 
unfair advantage of his opponent. For instance, 
when Mr. Butler, without any reason or explanation 
being given, failed to meet him at Warrenton, one of 
the places appointed for a joint discussion, Aycock 
refused to seize upon his absence as a legitimate topic 
for discussion, but when he arose to speak, referred to 
it only to say: "I do not know what has prevented 
Mr. Butler's coming here to-day, but I am sure he has 
a good reason for his absence, for whatever else may be 
said of him, he can not be called a coward." And on 
another occasion, as related elsewhere, when some of 
his too enthusiastic partisans wished to hear him casti- 
gate Mr. Butler in his absence, Aycock refused to 
gratify them, declaring that the occasion was too great 
and the questions at issue too momentous to be lost 
sight of in personalities. It was probably the recol- 
lection of such incidents in his contest with Aycock 
that inspired Mr. Butler to write of him: "He was the 
high type of a man who could meet a strong opponent 
in the fiercest kind of a contest, and yet command the 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 67 

respect of his opponent more at the end than at the 
beginning." 

In the campaign of 1892 there were three state and 
national tickets in the field — Democratic, Repub- 
lican, and Populist — and in this triangular contest 
the Democrats won. Two years later, 1894, the 
Populists and Republicans fused their interests, and 
not only elected several congressmen and judges, but, 
what was far more important, captured the Legisla- 
ture. In 1896, by the same methods, they secured con- 
trol of all three branches of the State government and 
of many of the counties. The basis of their control 
was the solid negro vote estimated at from 120,000 
to 125,000. Thus the people of North Carolina were 
to see tested again the experiment which had failed 
during the days of Reconstruction — the effort of a 
party composed chiefly of a negro constituency to 
provide good government for a Commonwealth founded 
upon an Anglo-Saxon civilization. 

Coming into power upon a distinct pledge to restore 
local self-government to the people of the State, the 
Fusionists proceeded to carry this pledge into execu- 
tion. An act (entitled "An act to restore to the 
people of North Carolina local self-government ") 
was passed which overturned the system of county 
government then in operation. Whether so intended 
or »ot, the new system turned over to negro rule 
the chief city of the State, several important towns, 
and many of the eastern counties. Then the country 
saw repeated the scenes which have made the memory 
of Reconstruction a nightmare to the people of the 
South. Negro politicians, often illiterate, always 



68 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

ignorant, generally corrupt, presided over the inferior 
courts, dominated county school boards and district 
school committees, and served as county commissioners 
and city councilmen. They were found on the police 
force of the State's chief city, they were made city 
attorneys, and they were numbered among county 
coroners, deputy sheriffs, and registers of deeds. 
Lawlessness, violence, and corruption followed. In 
some of the counties the situation became unbearable, 
while in such towns as Wilmington, New Bern, and 
Greenville neither life nor property nor woman's 
honor was secure. Governor Aycock did not exagger- 
ate the situation when, in his Inaugural Address, he 
declared that during those years of negro rule "law- 
lessness walked the State like a pestilence — death 
stalked abroad at noonday — 'sleep lay down armed' — 
the sound of the pistol was more frequent than the 
song of the mocking-bird — the screams of women, 
fleeing from pursuing brutes, closed the gates of our 
hearts with a shock." 

The historian will not undertake to say that the 
party in power intended to produce this condition of 
affairs, but he will say that Governor Aycock was 
right in his analysis of the situation when he declared: 

"We have had but two periods of Republican rule 
in North CaroHna — from 1868 to 1870, and from 1896 
to 1898. That party contains a large number of re- 
spectable white men, but the negro constitutes two 
thirds of its voting strength. Government can never 
be better nor wiser than the average of the virtue and 
intelligence of the party that governs. The Republi- 
cans insist that we have never had negro rule in North 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 69 

Carolina; that the Republican party elects white 
men to office, and that this fact gives us a government 
of white men. Governor Russell, in his message to the 
last Legislature, vindicates himself against the charge 
of appointing negroes to office, and proudly boasts 
that out of 818 appointments made by him, not more 
than eight were negroes. He misses the point which 
we made, and make, against his party; it is not alone 
that Governor Russell put eight negroes in office, and 
his party a thousand more, but that the 125,000 
negroes put him in office over the votes of the white 
men — it is the party behind the officeholder that 
governs, and not the officeholder himself. There is 
no man in the State to-day more certainly conscious 
than Governor Russell that he has failed of his purpose 
because he had behind him the negroes of the State, 
and not the white men. We had a white man for 
governor in 1870, when counties were declared in a 
state of insurrection; when innocent men were arrested 
without warrant by military cutthroats; when the 
writ of habeas corpus was suspended and the judiciary 
was exhausted. We had a white man for governor in 
1898, when negroes became intolerably insolent; 
when ladies were insulted on the public streets; when 
burglary in our chief city became an every-night 
occurrence; when 'sleep lay down armed and the 
villa' :ous centre-bits ground on the wakeful ear in 
the hush of the moonless nights' ; when more guns and 
pistols were sold in the State than had been in the 
twenty preceding years; when . . . the Governor 
and our two Senators were afraid to speak in a city 
of 25,000 inhabitants. It is the negro behind the 
officer, and not the officer only, that constitutes negro 
government." 

Such was the situation when the two parties, Demo- 
cratic and Fusionist — for in state politics the Populists 
and RepubUcans formed for the time but one party 



70 THE LITE AND SPEECHES 

— approached the campaign preceding the election 
of 1898. To many Democrats the situation seemed 
hopeless. But on May 12, 1898, before the meeting 
of the Democratic State Convention, Charles B. 
Ay cock and Mr. Locke Craig, addressed an immense 
assemblage of people at Laurinburg, and, in lan- 
guage that thrilled their thousands of hearers, 
drew a graphic picture of the conditions in the State, 
and, appealing to the white people of North Carolina 
to forget their previous differences, called upon them 
to unite in putting an end to a situation that was no 
longer tolerable. If the test of an oration be its effect 
upon those to whom it is addressed, then surely no 
greater political orations have been heard in North 
Carolina than those of Aycock and Craig at Laurin- 
burg. They sounded like a bugle call from one end 
of North Carolina to the other. They convinced the 
doubtful, inspired the wavering, and fired the hearts 
of the faithful. In words that all could understand 
and that none who heard them could ever forget they 
set forth the issue of the approaching contest. They 
aroused a quick response in the minds of thousands who 
were eagerly looking for wise leadership, and were 
accepted by the Democratic State Convention as the 
keynote of the campaign. The party planted itself 
squarely on the single issue of white supremacy, and 
determined upon a vigorous campaign to reunite the 
white people of the State, drive the Fusionists from 
power, and reestablish good government once for all 
in North Carolina. 

The Fusionists accepted the challenge. Congress- 
man White, the most prominent of the negro office- 



OF CHAEI.es B. AYCOCK 71 

holders of the State, struck the keynote of their cam- 
paign when in a speech before the RepubHcan State 
Convention, he said: "I am not the only negro who 
holds office. There are others. There are plenty more 
being made to order to hold office. We don't hold as 
many as we will. The Democrats talk about the color 
line and the negro holding office. I invite the issue." 

Thus the issue was joined. Thoughtful Democrats 
frankly acknowledged that it was an appeal to race- 
prejudice, recognized all the evils that it might pro- 
duce by arousing the worst passions of both races, and 
admitted that it was full of danger. But these were 
the very grounds upon which they justified their 
course. It was far better, they declared, to face the 
issue, and settle it once for all, than to have it re- 
occurring every second year with accumulated force 
and danger each time. And so with grim determina- 
tion they launched their campaign. The management 
of the campaign was entrusted to Mr. F. M. Simmons; 
the voice of the party was Charles B. Aycock. 

Aycock's services were in demand in all parts of the 
State and he gave them without stint. During the 
campaign he was challenged to meet Hon. Cyrus 
Thompson, Secretary of State in the Fusion Adminis- 
tration, in joint debate at Concord and at Hood 
Swamp, a precinct in Wayne County. Mr. F. A. 
Daniels, who heard the debate at Hood Swamp, thus 
describes it: 

"Doctor Thompson was probably the best furnished 
of all the speakers in the Populist party. He had wit 
in abundance, was well informed, master of satire, 
quick at repartee; he was a dangerous opponent 



72 CHARLES B. AYCOCK 

But Mr. Ay cock was tremendous. If there was a 
weapon of warfare that he did not use it must have 
been obsolete. There was not a joint in his enemy's 
armor that he did not find and pierce. There was no 
argument that was not met, no wit that was not 
matched, no invective that was not equaled. His 
opening was full of matter so strongly put together 
that it was unanswerable, and his rejoinder to the 
inadequate reply was crushing. It was a memorable 
occasion and one that will never be forgotten by those 
who witnessed it." 

This campaign determined Aycock's position as the 
foremost orator of his generation in North Carolina, 
and fixed upon him the eyes of his party as its coming 
leader. He was frequently introduced to the people 
as "the next governor," and they understood that in 
the event of Democratic success he was to be the 
leader who should finish the work of 1898 by leading 
his party to victory in 1900. For as the day of elec- 
tion approached no one doubted that Democratic 
success would lead to such changes in the fundamental 
law of the State as would eliminate the negro from 
politics, and that disfranchisement of the negro would 
be the chief issue in the next campaign. The election 
resulted in giving the Democrats control of both houses 
of the Legislature. They interpreted this result as a 
command from the people that they prepare an 
amendment to the Constitution that would make white 
supremacy in North Carolina perpetual. Accord- 
ingly such an amendment was prepared and submitted 
to the voters for ratification at the general election of 
1900. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE SUFFRAGE CAMPAIGN OF 1900 

IN THE campaign of 1900 but one issue was pre- 
sented to the people — i.e., the Suffrage Amend- 
ment submitted by the Legislature of 1899. This 
Amendment provided an educational qualification for 
suffrage, from which, however, were excepted all 
persons who were entitled to vote in any State of the 
Union on or before January 1, 1867, and their lineal 
descendants; provided that all such persons should 
register in accordance with the requirements of the 
Constitution prior to December 1, 1908; after that 
date the educational requirement fell equally upon all 
persons, white and black alike. The Amendment 
also required as a further qualification for suffrage 
the payment of a poll tax. 

Immediately upon the adjournment of the Legis- 
lature the opponents of the Amendment began to 
bombard it with all sorts of hard questions designed 
to excite uneasiness and apprehension in the minds 
of ill-informed people. Did not the proposed Amend- 
ment violate the Fifteenth Amendment to the Con- 
stitution of the United States? Might not the Supreme 
Court of the United States uphold the educational 
qualification but declare the "grandfather clause'* 
unconstitutional and void? Would the State ever 

73 



74 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

find it possible to provide sufficient educational 
facilities to enable children becoming of age after 1908 
to qualify themselves for the suffrage? These were 
serious questions that had to be answered seriously, 
but perhaps they were less dangerous to the success 
of the Amendment than many objections of a less 
weighty character. It was urged that the Amend- 
ment would place the uneducated many under the 
complete domination of the educated few; that no 
illiterate white man would be permitted to vote be- 
cause he would never be able to prove that his ancestors 
had voted before 1867; that any man who should 
happen to lose his poll tax receipt would be denied the 
right to vote; that poor boys and orphans who could 
not afford to go to school would be disfranchised. 
Industriously circulated among the people, and losing 
none of their force in the process, these objections 
raised grave doubts in the minds of thousands of 
voters who in 1898 had voted with the Democratic 
party on the white supremacy issue, and at first 
convinced many of them that it was better to bear the 
evils which they knew than to fly to those which they 
knew not. 

The Democratic party, though fully recognizing 
the uncertainty of the issue, resolved to stake its future 
on the success of the Amendment. The rank and 
file, as well as the party leaders, understood the 
difficulty of their task, and the necessity of finding a 
leader who, with the power to allay the apprehensions 
and arouse the interest of the people, combined the 
learning and ability to discuss the complex constitu- 
tional questions involved with a clearness and simplicity 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 75 

that all could understand. Mr. Theodore F. David- 
son of Buncombe, for eight years Attorney- General 
of the State; Mr. John S. Cunningham of Person, one 
of the largest planters in North Carolina, who had 
served many years in the General Assembly; Mr. M. 
H. Justice of Rutherford, an experienced legislator, 
prominent among the leaders of the Legislature who 
had drafted the proposed Amendment, were strongly 
urged for the nomination. 

But since the campaign of 1898 the eyes of the party 
had been fixed upon Charles B. Ay cock as the leader 
who should carry the work begun in that year to com- 
pletion in 1900. His supporters urged not only his 
great party service, but his "preeminent power to 
convince the minds of men and to arouse their highest 
and best emotions, to enthuse them with the truths 
of his cause and lead them to action," which he had 
so notably demonstrated in the campaigns of 1892 and 
1898. "The Democratic party,'* said they, "standing 
for white supremacy, has taken in hand the settlement 
of the one question which has obstructed the progress 
of the State for thirty years — the one question which 
has been a source of anxious thought and grave appre- 
hension to the wisest and best citizens of the State. 
The issue is made up and submitted to the decision of 
the people. In this contest we have foreshadowed the 
character and intensity of the opposition to be met and 
overcome. The men of eastern North Carolina, who 
have borne their burden and have determined with 
the aid of the men of the mountains to bear it no longer, 
are deeply interested in the result of the contest. The 
men of the centre and west, entering upon the de- 



76 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

velopment of their great and rich resources, embarking 
in great industrial enterprises, using their own and 
northern capital, are as deeply interested in securing 
good government and stable conditions. It will be 
well that the man who is to hold the leadership in the 
great argument, the appeal to the white men of North 
Carolina, shall come from the section wherein the 
curse and blight of negro domination has been felt. 
None can tell the story of these thirty years so well as 
he who has seen and felt the conditions from which 
we are seeking to rid ourselves." 

Such reasoning, coupled with the recollections of 
the great ability which Aycock had displayed in 
former campaigns, appealed to the judgment of the 
rank and file of the party, and with a unanimity rarely 
seen in political affairs they turned to him to lead 
them in this contest. On February 24th the Demo- 
cratic Convention of Wayne County instructed its 
delegates to the State Convention for him, and during 
the next month county after county followed the 
example. The other candidates, seeing that he was 
the undoubted choice of the party, withdrew from 
the contest and pledged their support to him. 

The Democratic State Convention, which met in 
the Academy of Music at Raleigh, April 11th, was one 
long to be remembered. An immense crowd thronged 
the hall. "There was not a foot of vacant space. 
Every seat was taken, the aisles were packed, and the 
boxes and rostrum were crowded — one great, cramped, 
cheering mass of humanity." "Such a call of the 
roll of the counties," declared Chairman Simmons, 
"has perhaps never before occurred in the history of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 77 

this State. It shows every county in the State fully 
represented by duly accredited delegates." No body 
more truly representative of all that was best in the life 
of the State ever assembled in North Carolina. Every 
profession, every industry was there represented by 
its strongest, its most eminent leaders, all inspired by a 
sincere conviction that they had been called together 
to perform a high civic duty upon which depended the 
future happiness, peace and prosperity of a great 
State, and though enthusiasm abounded, there was 
nothing, in even the faintest degree, that resembled 
the disorder, the rowdyism, the demagoguery which 
characterizes so many similar bodies. An air of 
seriousness and determination pervaded the whole in 
keeping with the greatness of the occasion and the 
importance of the work to be done. 

Aycock's name was presented to the convention 
by one of his former competitors, Mr. Justice. 
"Among the duties of this convention," he declared, 
"is the selection of a fit standard bearer; a man to 
place at the head of the ticket; a man to bear the 
flag. We want a representative white man — a leader 
of men — a brave heart and a clear head; one who 
will go into the hottest of the fight, and in the forefront 
of the battle, and inspire confidence in his followers. 
During the Civil War," said he, "a regiment was 
charging the enemy's works, when suddenly the line 
wavered, and along it passed the human shiver and 
chill that meant a break. The color bearer had seen 
battles before and knew the symptom, he sprang 
forward with the battle flag, and rushed toward the 
enemy's line. The colonel, seeing the danger, made a 



78 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

trumpet of his hands and called, 'Sergeant, bring the 
colors back to the men.' The Sergeant hugged the 
old scarred flagstaff to his bosom and cried, ' Colo- 
nel bring the men up to the colors!' Mr. President 
and Gentlemen, I shall name you a leader like 
that!" And amid a storm of tumultous cheers he 
presented Aycock's name. A motion to nominate 
him by acclamation was received with one prolonged 
"Aye." 

Coming forward to signify his acceptance of the 
nomination, Aycock was received by the delegates, 
writes a witness of the scene, "standing and cheering 
like Apache Indians. The applause and cheers swelled 
and burst and swelled again and would not cease until 
the band struck up *Dixie.' " His speech of acceptance 
was worthy of the man and the occasion. In language 
that sunk deep into the consciousness of his hearers, 
he explained the issues involved in the approaching 
contest and struck the keynote of his party's campaign. 
No person of intelligence and sensibility can rise from 
a perusal of this speech (elsewhere printed in this 
volume) without sincere admiration not merely for 
the ability, but also for the patriotism with which it 
lifted a contest that involved all the dangers of an 
appeal to race-prejudice and passion, to a plane of 
high and genuine statesmanship seeking only the 
ultimate good of both races. 

Aycock's colleagues on the State ticket were W. D. 
Turner of Iredell, for lieutenant-governor; J. Bryan 
Grimes of Pitt, for secretary of state; B. R. Lacy of 
Wake, for treasurer; B. F. Dixon of Cleveland, for 
auditor; R. D. Gilmer of Haywood, for attorney- 



OF CHAELES B. AYCOCK 79 

general; and T. F. Toon of Robeson, for superinten- 
dent of public instruction. 

Both the Repubhcan and the Populist parties 
nominated full State tickets, but before the campaign 
was fairly openec! their leaders agreed on a basis of 
fusion by whom Dr. Cyrus Thompson, the Popuhst 
nominee for governor, was retired in favor of Mr. 
Spencer B. Adams, the Republican nominee, and the 
other places on the ticket were distributed among the 
several nominees of the two parties. 

The outlook for the Democratic party at the open- 
ing of the campaign was discouraging. The Demo- 
cratic leaders observed with alarm that their oponents 
had made considerable headway in their fight on the 
Amendment, and realized that a long campaign of 
education was necessary for their success. The three 
months preceding the State Convention, therefore, 
were devoted to the work of organizing such an edu- 
cational campaign. WTien the State Convention met 
in April these arrangements had been completed and 
the situation began to look more hopeful. But imme- 
diately after the adjournment of the convention the 
party leaders found themselves confronted by a new 
and unexpected danger. The very success cf the 
convention and the enthusaism it had aroused in the 
rank and file of the Democratic party, declares Chair- 
man Simmons, had inspired "a feeling of over- 
confidence on the part of the Democrats not justified 
by the situation. As a result, nearly three weeks 
after the adjournment of the convention but little 
headway was made in the campaign, and the tide 
began to set alarmingly against us." To counteract 



80 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

this tendency hundreds of thousands of personal letters, 
documents and papers were mailed from the Democratic 
headquarters directly to voters in order to prepare 
them "to hear with interest, and understandingly, 
the great campaign of argument which was to be made 
from the stump." 

This campaign from the stump was planned and 
executed with great skill, and in every respect sur- 
passed all other campaigns in the history of North 
Carolina. A unique and successful feature was a 
tour of the eastern counties made by all the candidates 
together. At first the crowds which heard them were 
small, but as interest grew, they rapidly increased, and 
before the campaign closed Democratic speakers be- 
came used to addressing audiences estimated from 
5,000 upward. A notable feature of these gatherings 
was the large number of women who attended and the 
deep interest which they everywhere displayed. The 
fact that with practical unanimity they favored the 
Amendment told powerfully in its behalf. A general 
review of the campaign after the lapse of twelve 
years inclines one to concur with the statement of 
Chairman Simmons: "Never before in North Carolina 
has such an army of great campaign orators appeared 
on the stump, never before were such crowds assembled 
in the State to hear political speeches, and never be- 
fore were speeches as effective in winning votes and 
moulding public opinion." 

Of all the orators who participated in this campaign 
none was heard so eagerly as the Democratic candidate 
for governor. The people enjoyed his unfailing good 
humor, applauded his frankness and courage, appre- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 81 

dated his fairness, and trusted his sincerity. It is 
unnecessary here to follow in detail his line of argument 
on the various questions presented by the Amendment. 
They can be read in his own words in his Speech of 
Acceptance and in his Inaugural Address. In his 
first speech after his nomination, delivered at Bur- 
lington, April 16th, he stated that the campaign 
presented but one issue — "the negro question.'' 

"For years," said he, "the Democratic party has 
been fighting this issue until at last it has made up 
its mind that it must be settled, and settled once for 
all. We are going to win this fight, and we want to 
win it with practical unanimity. I've sort of got 
used to the unanimous way of doing business, and I'm 
m favor of it." 

He made no effort to conceal the real purpose of the 
Amendment, to explain it away, or to apologize for 
it, but frankly declared: 

"This amendment was drawn with great skill. It 
was drawn after long thought, and with full knowledge 
of the end to be attained. It was drawn with the 
deliberate purpose of depriving the negro of the right 
to vote, and of allowing every white man to retain that 
right. And I tell you now and here, did I believe that 
it would cause the oppression of a single man, or deprive 
one white man, however ignorant or humble, of his 
suffrage, I would not support it. On the contrary 
its passage will mean peace to the land, it will mean an 
end to an era of crime and lawlessness, security to 
property and purity of politics. There will be no 
more dead negroes on the streets of Wilmington, no 
more rule of the incompetent and corrupt." 



82 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Though he never minced his words when describing 
the conditions which negro rule had produced, his 
bearing toward his poHtical opponents was such that 
thousands who had been taught to fear and hate him 
were completely won by his courtesy and fairness. 
Speaking at Waynesville to an audience in which were 
a large number of Republicans, he said: 

"I shall speak the Democratic doctrine with all 
earnestness and yet with forbearance. No man shall 
go away saying that the candidate for governor of the 
great State of North CaroUna abused him for his 
poHtical faith." 

And two days later at Shelby, he said: 

"I do not believe the Fusionists intended to give us 
bad government; they simply could not help it. I 
assert that such a condition with them is inevitable 
because the party has not behind it virtue and intelli- 
gence, but it has the evil influence of 120,000 negro 
voters. No government can be better or wiser than 
the average of the virtue and intelligence of the party 
that governs." 

That he felt no hostility toward the negro, as such, 
no one can doubt who reads that passage in his Speech 
of Acceptance, which he often repeated on the stump, 
in which he said: 

"May the era of good feeling among us be the out- 
come of this contest. Then we shall learn, if we do 
not already know, that while universal suffrage is a 
failure, universal justice is the perpetual decree of 
Almighty God, and that we are entrusted with power 
not for our good alone, but for the negro as well. We 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 83 

hold our title to power by the tenure of service to God, 
and if we fail to administer equal and exact justice 
to the negro whom we deprive of suffrage, we shall in 
the fulness of time lose power ourselves, for we must 
know that the God who is Love trusts no people with 
authority for the purpK)se of enabHng them to do 
injustice to the weak." 

He justified the "grandfather clause," which ad- 
mitted to the suffrage ilUterate white men while ex- 
cluding illiterate negroes, on the ground that the 
former possessed through inheritance qualifications 
to which the latter had no claim. Said he : 

"It is admitted that an educational qualification 
may be required. AVhat sort of education.^ Does 
this necessarily mean book-learning, ability to read 
and write, or does it go further and extend to that 
education tendency, instinct, whatever you may call 
it, which we get from our fathers and mothers by in- 
heritance as applied to government, that facility for 
understanding public questions which has character- 
ized the white man for ages.f^ Does any human being 
doubt that the English barons, who wrested Magna 
Carta from King John at Runnymede, were more 
capable of self-government than any equal number of 
uneducated negroes that ever lived on the globe? Not 
one of those glorious old heroes of liberty could write 
his name — indeed, they had great contempt for any 
person other than a clergyman who could do so. 
. . . Those who have experienced the suffrage for 
a long time and their descendants possess an education 
in government certainlv as great as those who can 
merely read and write.* 

Nevertheless he did not believe that the white people 
of the State should be encouraged to rest satisfied 
with their qualification by inheritance. 



84 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

"We recognize and provide," said he, "for the God- 
given and hereditary superiority of the white man and 
of all white children now thirteen years of age, but 
for the future as to all under thirteen we call on them 
to assert that superiority of which we boast by learning 
to read and write. The schools are open and will be 
for four or more months every year from now to 1908. 
The white child under thirteen who will not learn to 
read and write in the next eight years will be without 
excuse." 

To many Democrats, however, and to their oppon- 
ents also, that section of the Amendment which limited 
the right to vote under the "grandfather clause" to a 
period of years, seemed, for campaign purposes, the 
weakest point in its armor; and while the latter laid 
great stress on this provision in their opposition, many 
of the former were disposed to relegate it as much as 
possible to the background and to say as little as 
possible about it in their speeches from the stump. 
Aycock was not of this number. To the convention 
which nominated him, he had unreservedly, even 
enthusiastically, endorsed this section. "I tell you," 
he exclaimed, "that the prosperity and the glory of 
our grand old State are to be more advanced by this 
clause than by any other one thing." He advised his 
party not to falter or to waver in its advocacy of this 
provision; while he himself derived more pleasure 
from discussing it than any other section of the Amend- 
ment. Said he: 

"The man who seeks in the face of these provisions 
to encourage illiteracy is a public enemy and deserves 
the contempt of all mankind. . . . Gentlemen of 
the convention, this clause of our Amendment does 



OF CHAKLES B. AYCOCK 85 

not weaken but strengthens it. In your speeches to 
the people, in your talks \vdth them on the streets and 
farms and by the firesides, do not hesitate to discuss 
this section. . . . Speak the truth, 'tell it in Gath, 
publish it in the streets of Askalon' that universal 
education of the white children of North Carolina 
will send us forward with a bound in the race with the 
world. . . . With the adoption of our Amend- 
ment after 1908 there will be no State in the Union 
with a larger percentage of boys and girls who can 
read and vvTite and no State will rush forward with 
more celerity or certainty than conservative old North 
Carolina. The miserable demagogue who seeks to 
perpetuate ilhteracy in the State will then have happily 
passed forever." 

To the crowds which thronged to hear him in all 
parts of the State, he said: 

"If you vote for me, I want you to do so with the 
distinct understanding that I shall devote the four 
years of my official term to the upbuilding of the public 
schools of North Carolina. I shall endeavor for every 
child in the State to get an education." 

The newspaper correspondents who accompanied 
him on his campaigns invariably wrote to their papers 
that wherever this pledge was given, it was received 
with "long and continued applause." 

But as the campaign progressed, the opposition made 
such effective use of this section of the Amendment 
that a large number of Democrats became apprehen- 
sive of carrying the State; and some of the more timid 
began an agitation to have it stricken out at the special 
session of the Legislature in June. Aycock was then 
in the very midst of his campaign in the western part 



86 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of the State where he was devoting much of his dis- 
cussion to advocating it. When he learned of the 
movement to have it struck out he promptly declared 
his opposition to such a course in terms that could not 
be misunderstood. He had accepted the nomination, 
he asserted, with the understanding that the Demo- 
cratic platform was a solemn pledge to the people that 
the Amendment would be submitted to them as 
adopted by the Legislature; he had so stated on a 
hundred platforms during the campaign, and had 
staked his own honor upon the good faith of his party; 
and he now declared that if his party should repudiate 
its pledge by making the proposed change in the 
Amendment, he would withdraw from the campaign, 
resign his candidacy, and go home. His bold and 
determined stand dealt the movement its death 
blow 

It was estimated that in the course of his campaign, 
Aycock made 110 speeches, traveled 1,000 miles by 
carriage, and 5,000 by rail, and addressed as many as 
100,000 people. His speeches were vote-Vv inner s. It 
is probably no exaggeration to say that never before 
in the history of North Carolina did political speeches 
influence so many votes. Aycock had begun his cam- 
paign under inauspicious circumstances, fully appre- 
ciating the difficulty of the task before him. He real- 
ized that he was the advocate of a radical change in the 
organic law of the State and that the burden of proof 
accordingly rested upon him. He knew, no man 
better, the conservative character of the people of 
North Carolina and the hesitancy with which they 
leave the well-trodden paths of the fathers. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 87 

"The North CaroHna people are conservative," he 
said. **They do not Uke change. They endure for a 
long time unpleasant and evil things rather than make 
the effort to throw them off. They would not to-day 
change their organic law if there was any other course 
open to them. But thirty years of experience has 
satisfied them that the highest interest of the State 
demands a change." 

It was a change easily misrepresented, easily mis- 
understood, and well calculated to arouse apprehension 
in the minds of thousands of voters. That it would 
accomplish its object no one doubted; what people 
feared was that it would accomplish more than its 
object, and it was difficult to convince them that it 
would not do so. It involved an acute race question 
which everybody realized to be full of danger. Not 
the least merit of Aycock's speeches was that they 
reduced this danger to a minimum. He made no ap- 
peal to race prejudice; indeed, his Speech of Acceptance 
had made such an appeal impossible. He spoke to 
the people in behalf of good government, and he under- 
took to convince them that the cause of good govern- 
ment was involved in the success of the Amendment 
which he advocated. His appeal was triumphantly 
successful, for not only did he hold in line the doubtful 
and wavering of his o^ti party, but the evident sin- 
cerity of his faith in the justice and wisdom of his 
cause and his convincing arguments won the votes of 
thousands of Republicans. 

An incident illustrative of the impression which he 
made upon open-minded men occurred at Lenoir, where 
he spoke June 13th. Among those who heard him that 



88 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

day was J. A. Crisp, Chairman of the Republican 
County Executive Committee and RepubHcan nominee 
for the Legislature. After the speaking, according to 
his own statement, Mr. Crisp declared in the presence 
of a number of Democrats that he was as much in favor 
of white supremacy as any of them, and if Aycock would 
make affidavit before the Clerk of the Court that no 
white man would be deprived of his vote by the Amend- 
ment, he would support and vote for it. Aycock 
promptly accepted the challenge, sent for Crisp, and 
made the desired affidavit. In it he declared that he 
had *' carefully examined and studied the proposed 
Amendment to the Constitution of the State of North 
Carolina, and that he not only believes, but is entirely 
confident that no white man born in the United States 
will be disfranchised thereby, provided that he registers 
at any time prior to 1908." Mr. Crisp thereupon 
signed an obligation to vote for it. He was not the only 
Republican whom Aycock's earnestness and eloquence 
convinced, though others required no such solemn 
method of testing his sincerity. It was observed that 
after his speech at Lenoir, as well as at other places, a 
considerable number of RepubHcans went home wearing 
white supremacy buttons. 

The truth is, the campaign of which Aycock was the 
leader had created a revolution in the State far more 
widespread than even the most sanguine of the Demo- 
cratic leaders realized. Only six days before the elec- 
tion, the News and Observer^ never overly conserva- 
tive in preelection prophecies, editorially predicted a 
majority for the Amendment of 30,000. The election, 
held August 2d, gave it a majority of 53,932. Sixty-six 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 89 

of the ninety-seven counties gave majorities for the 
Amendment. Aycock himself proved stronger than 
his cause. He carried seventy-four of the ninety-seven 
counties, and was elected governor by an unprecedented 
majority of 60,354. The total votes on the Amend- 
ment and the governorship were as follows: for the 
Amendment, 182,217, against the Amendment, 128,285; 
for Aycock, 186,650, for Adams, 126,296. Aycock's 
majority was the largest ever received by any man in 
the history of North Carolina for the office of governor. 



CHAPTER VII 

A PROGRESSIVE ADMINISTRATION 

AYCOCK'S administration began "under extra- 
ordinary circumstances." Said he, "One party 
^ goes out of power and another comes in; one 
policy ends and a new one begins; one century passes 
away and a new century claims our attention; a new 
constitution greets the new century." 

The changes in the political affairs of the State fol- 
lowed the bitterest contest in its history. The two 
races had been arrayed in fearful antagonism and the 
elemental passions of both had been deeply stirred. 
The fires of race prejudice and bitterness still smoul- 
dered in the hearts of thousands and but the slightest 
breath was necessary to fan them into a conflagration 
of fearful consequences. It was a situation which re- 
quired a leader with a cool head, a clear vision, and a 
judicious temperament. He must have an abundance 
of patience, wisdom and charity. He must be a 
courageous man. It was no time for a time-server. 
He who would allay the apprehensions of the negroes 
and check the passions of the whites must be a states- 
man. 

It was fortunate for the cause of civilization through- 
out the South that in her new governor North Carolina 
had found such a leader. Aycock had made the fight 

90 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 91 

for the Amendment in no spirit of enmity to the negro. 
His only purpose was to secure good government, 
peace and prosperity for all the citizens of the State. 
After the fight was won, he declared that the time had 
come when the negro should be made to realize that 
while he would not be permitted to govern, his rights 
should be held all the more sacred on that account. 
He knew perhaps better than any other man how the 
passions of the whites had been aroused, and he realized 
that they were in danger of going too far. He appre- 
ciated, too, the peril of antagonizing the dominant 
thought in the State, but he believed that the people 
who had chosen him governor did so with the hope that 
he would be brave enough to sacrifice his own popu- 
larity, his own future, if need be, to the speaking of 
the rightful word and the doing of the generous act; 
and he appealed to the white people of the State to 
realize that a situation confronted them that demanded 
statesmanship, not passion and prejudice. 

Such was the spirit with which on January 15, 1901, 
he took the oath of office. His Inaugural Address was 
a fitting supplement to his Speech of Acceptance. In 
it he reviewed the conditions under which his party 
had come into power; he defended its position on the 
negro question; and forecast the effects of the Suffrage 
Amendment. He renewed his campaign pledge on 
education, declared for a more just assessment of 
property for the purposes of taxation, demanded the 
passage of a fair election law, stated his determination 
to suppress lawlessness whether of individuals or of 
mobs, appealed for a just and humane policy toward the 
negro race, expressed the hope that the new conditions 



92 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

would bring with them "freedom of thought, of criti- 
cism and of action," and closed with a statement of 
the ideals which would guide him in the performance 
of his duties as governor. Said he: 

*'I have been elected as a Democrat. I shall ad- 
minister the high office to which I have been called in 
accordance with the policies and principles of that 
great party, but I wish it distinctly understood that I 
shall strive to be a just governor of all the people, with- 
out regard to party, color or creed. The law will be 
enforced with impartiality and no man's petition shall 
go unheard because he differs from me in politics or in 
color. My obligation is to the State, and the State is 
all her citizens. No man is so high that the law shall 
not be enforced against him, and no man is so low that 
it shall not reach down to him to lift him up if may be 
and set him on his feet again and bid him Godspeed 
to better things.'* 

In his speech to the Democratic Convention of 1904, 
in which he reviewed the work of his administration, 
Ay cock said: 

"In speaking of the work of the past administration 
I shall frequently use the personal pronoun ' I ' — not 
from any desire to appropriate the work done, nor, I 
trust, from any sense of vanity, but because of con- 
venience of expression. I wish to say in the beginning 
that the work done has not been mine. Whatever 
good has been accomplished has had the whole body of 
the people behind it, and has had to execute it the 
united force of the able, honorable, conscientious men 
with whom I have had the honor to be associated." 

In this chapter we shall follow Aycock's example. 
In referring to his work we mean the work of the ad- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 93 

ministration of which he was the head. His Council 
of State was composed of the Secretary of State, J. 
Bryan Grimes; the Treasurer, Benjamin R. Lacy; the 
Auditor, Benjamin F. Dixon; and the Superintendent 
of PubHc Instruction, Thomas F. Toon, till February, 
1902, after that date, James Y. Joyner. The Attorney- 
General, Robert D. Gilmer, was the legal adviser of the 
Council. 

Aycock came into office on a platform pledged to a 
policy of more liberal pensions to Confederate soldiers, 
of increased facilities for the care of the insane, for the 
education of the blind and the deaf, for the State's 
higher institutions of learning, and of general improve- 
ment of the public school system. He advocated more 
generous support also of the boards of health, of pubhc 
charities, of the geological survey, and of other boards 
and commissions, the building of public roads, the 
enactment of effective child labor legislation, the estab- 
lishment of a reformatory for youthful criminals, and 
other progressive measures. Indeed, his administra- 
tion stood for a general advance along the whole line 
of public activity. 

Aycock realized, of course, that these things would 
require a revenue considerably larger than the State 
was then receiving. He had made no false promises 
of retrenchment in appropriations or reduction of taxes; 
on the contrary, he had declared all along that expen- 
ditures would be increased and that his administration 
would spend all the money that could be raised by a 
fair assessment of property and just taxation. To 
raise the revenue needed for his policies was the most 
pressing problem confronting his administration at its 



94 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

beginning. His predecessor had bequeathed to him a 
deficit in the treasury. He had found the penitentiary 
in debt. A large percentage of the property in the 
State was escaping any taxation, and all was under- 
valued on the tax books. To get this property on the 
tax books at something like its true value, to levy on 
it a tax sufficient to produce the needed revenue and 
yet not so burdensome as to retard the industrial de- 
velopment which Aycock had predicted and promised, 
was a difficult task. He declared, however, that it 
must be done. 

*'Tf more taxes are required," said he, "more taxes 
must be levied. If property has escaped taxation here- 
tofore which ought to have been taxed, means must be 
devised by which that property can be reached and put 
upon the tax list. I rejoice in prosperity and take de- 
light in the material progress of the State. I would 
cripple no industry; I would retard the growth of no 
enterprise; but I would by just and equal laws require 
from every owner of property his just contribution, to 
the end that all the children may secure the right to 
select their servants." 

In spite of the fact that during its first three years 
Aycock's administration spent for education, pensions, 
and care of the insane, $1,208,228 more than his pre- 
decessor spent in a like period, and for other purposes 
in the same proportion, he succeeded in turning his 
predecessor's deficit of $177,000 into a surplus of 
$339,000. Under his administration the assessment of 
railroad property was more than doubled; the valuation 
of bank stocks increased in like proportion; while more 
than $136,000,000 were added to the valuation of all 
property. That these increases crippled no industry, 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 95 

retarded the growth of no enterprise, is shown by the 
fact that the gross earnings of the railroads during the 
same period increased more than 60 per cent., and the 
resources of the banks of the State more than 90 per 
cent. The increase in the number of cotton mills was 
50 per cent., of spindles 75 per cent., of looms 84 per 
cent., and of capital invested in cotton manufactur- 
ing 75 per cent. During the three years immediately 
preceding his term 510 corporations, with a combined 
capital of $13,000,000, were organized in the State; 
during the first three years of his administration the 
corporations organized numbered 1,276, and the com- 
bined capital was more than $100,000,000. 

In his speech to the Democratic Convention of 1900, 
Aycock predicted as a result of eliminating the negro 
from politics: 

"Industry will have a great outburst. We shall go 
forward into the new century a united people, striving 
in zeal and in generous rivalry for the material, intel- 
lectual and moral upbuilding of the State. The morn- 
ing of the new century calls. There is work to be done. 
Our industries are to be multiplied, our commerce 
increased." 

In his speech to the Democratic Convention of 1904 
he was able to point to the fulfilment of his prediction: 

"The people have found industry the best outlet for 
their superabundance of energy and they are bringing 
to pass a wonderful day in this State. Truly, as I 
predicted, there has been a great outburst of industry. 
In 1900 there was invested in cotton mills in this State 
$25,840,465; since then $18,260,000 have been added to 
the investment. Other industries, notably the manu- 
facture of furniture and other articles of wood, have 



96 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

fully kept pace with, if not outstript, that of cotton man- 
ufacturing. Agriculture has had a wonderful growth. 
Cotton has again become king. Large portions of the 
East have been converted into market gardens for the 
populous cities of the North. Men feel secure in their 
property. This feeling of security covers the State. 
This wonderful investment of capital in large business 
enterprises, with a full knowledge of our tax laws, of 
our assessments, of our needs, of our purpose to care 
for the weak and afflicted, and to educate the young, 
proves conclusively that the business men of North 
Carolina realize the benefit of good government and the 
profit to be found in an educated people." 

The purposes to which the greater portion of the in- 
creased revenue of the government was devoted were 
education, pensions for Confederate soldiers, and the 
care of the insane. Of the work of his administration 
for education we shall speak in another chapter. 

During Aycock's administration pensions for Con- 
federate soldiers were increased by more than $200,000. 
Adverting to this fact in his last message to the General 
Assembly he declared : 

"Still further provision remains yet to be made. If 
in your wisdom, you can see your way clear to do more 
than this I shall be glad, the State will rejoice, and we 
shall all still remain in debt to the glorious men and 
women who made history for us from 1861 to 1865 in 
such fashion that we can never be weak nor craven 
without falling away from the high estate to which 
they raised us.'* 

Reviewing the work of his administration for the 
insane, Ay cock said: 

"We found on entering ofiice that there were hun- 
dreds of insane in the State for whom provision had 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 97 

not been made. They were in the poorhouses, in jails, 
in homes where there was poverty and want. Their cry 
was coming up from all parts of the State; a sorrowful 
cry, awakening emotions of pity and forcing every true- 
hearted man to seek a way in which to provide for them." 

His administration took up the problem with great 
earnestness, increased the expenditures for hospitals 
by more than $200,000, and provided for the care of 
more than 200 additional patients. But Aycock urged 
the making of still greater efforts to provide amply for 
all the insane of the State, saying to the Legislature: 

"The Constitution requires it, humanity demands it, 
and the platforms of all parties pledge themselves to 
accomplish it. The State is able to bear the necessary 
burden for bringing about this result and nothing 
short of its accomplishment will satisfy the public con- 
science." 

With his educational policy Aycock coupled a policy 
to curtail the liquor traffic. In his message to the 
General Assembly of 1903 he recommended "that a 
general law be passed prohibiting the manufacture and 
sale of liquor throughout the State save in incorporated 
towns." He called the Legislature's attention to the 
fact that more than two thirds of the counties by local 
acts had already so restricted the business. 

"No good reason," he declared, "is apparent why 
the Legislature should not in all the counties apply the 
restriction which to-day exists in more than two thirds 
of them. This should be done for the reason that in 
the country there is no police supervision of the con- 
duct of the business. In many places the lawlessness 
due to this business has driven good people who pre- 
ferred to live on their farms into towns for safety." 



98 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

He thought such a law would produce good results 
and *'meet with the approval of the best citizens of the 
State." His recommendation met with favor and a law, 
known as the Watts Law, in line with his suggestion, 
was enacted. The Watts Law met with no little op- 
position and hostile criticism on the ground that it was 
a discrimination against the rural sections. In reply 
to such criticism Ay cock said : 

"We have entered upon an educational awakening 
in this State which is seeking not only to open the door 
of the schoolhouse to every child but to persuade and 
influence every child to enter that schoolhouse. There 
are men who have seen a school flourish in a town close 
by a barroom or still, but no man has ever yet seen a 
school grow up and prosper by the side of a whiskey 
still or a barroom in the country. The Legislature, 
therefore, was confronted with the question whether 
they should open and maintain schoolhouses in the 
country for children, or whiskey stills and bars for the 
men. The Legislature made its choice and the people 
will ratify it at the polls. In my judgment this act 
is one of the best ever passed by any legislature. The 
conditions justified it. The demands of the people 
required it and the results have proven beneficial. 
With the passing of the years it will be found to have 
been a most effective agency in the cause of temperance. 

This policy set in motion by the Watts Law has re- 
sulted in putting North Carolina in the column of pro- 
hibition states. The Legislature of 1905 still further re- 
stricted the liquor traffic by the passageof the Ward Law, 
confining it to towns of more than one thousand inhabi- 
tants. In 1908, the General Assembly, in special session, 
submitted to the people the question of state-wide pro- 
hibition, which was carried by a majority of 44,196. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 99 

Aycock*s educational policy, his attitude toward the 
negro, his exercise of the pardoning power, his efforts 
to suppress mob violence and to have captured and 
brought to punishment men who engaged in lynching 
parties, all subjected him to unsparing criticism. Of 
the criticism of the first two policies mentioned some- 
thing mil be said elsewhere. Of the criticism of his 
exercise of the pardoning power it is enough to say 
that he received no more than his predecessors and 
successors. Every governor encounters the same 
experience for the same reason. Thousands of con- 
victions for which no executive clemency is asked es- 
cape public notice; pardons and commutations refused 
attract but slight attention, but those granted are 
widely published, commented upon, and frequently 
condemned by those who are ignorant of the facts. 
All this leads thoughtless people to the conclusion that 
it is useless for juries to convict simply to enable the 
governor to pardon. 

Ay cock was not insensible to such criticisms. His 
sensibilities were too keen for them not to hurt. He 
had too much respect for public opinion to meet it in a 
spirit of contempt and defiance. On the other hand he 
had too much moral courage to let it affect the dis- 
charge of his duty when, once having weighed and con- 
sidered any question, he had determined upon the right 
course to pursue. To the Legislature of 1903 he said : 

"I have decided upon the merits of every application 
in obedience to my sworn obligation, with respect for 
the authority of the law, and with a genuine love for 
humanity. The task has not been a pleasant one, 
but I have found more cause for regret in the pardons 



100 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

which my conscience compelled me to refuse than in 
the pardons and commutations granted. I have not 
been unmindful of the criticism of my action in regard 
to this matter, but I have been unable to find it con- 
sistent with my duty to let criticism interfere with the 
highest power vested in me by the Constitution 
of the State. The power to act involves a duty, and 
that duty, by the suffrage of the people, has been re- 
posed in me. I should be unworthy of their respect, 
and too cowardly to be governor of so good and just a 
people if, in fear of their criticism, I should let one man 
undergo further punishment when my reason and 
conscience tell me he has been sufficiently punished. 
Punishment is for the reform of the criminal and for 
example to others disposed to offend against the law. 
When these two purposes have been fulfilled, suffering 
on the part of the prisoner becomes injustice, and so 
long as I remain the governor of this State, suffering 
shall have a hearing and those who have been chastened 
sufficiently shall go free.'* 

In the days of negro rule the crime for which mob 
law is usually defended was so frequent, and the en- 
forcement of the criminal law so lax, that many citi- 
zens, otherwise law-abiding, were led either to condone 
or but slightly to deprecate resort to lynch law. They 
succeeded in persuading themselves that it was the only 
way in which the criminal instincts of the negro, en- 
couraged by the exercise of political power, could be 
kept under curb. One of the reasons urged by Ay cock 
for the elimination of the negro from politics was that 
it would lessen crime and hasten the universal reign of 
law. *'The law," he said, "must have full sway. The 
mob has no place in our civilization." 

But the passions which the conflict between the races 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 101 

had aroused were not to be suddenly checked or im- 
mediately brought under control in either. The crime 
being committed, the punishment followed. During 
the first two years of Aycock's administration eight 
lynchings occurred in the State. His efforts to secure 
the arrest and conviction of the guilty parties resulted 
only in subjecting him to cruel criticism. Twice he 
experienced the bitter humiliation of having his 
requisitions on governors of other states delayed, "be- 
cause of the assertion that the prisoners, if returned to 
this State, would be lynched." Such things wounded 
his pride in the State and her people. 

"It ought not to be necessary," said he to the 
Legislature, "for the Governor of your State to have to 
accompany his requisition with an assurance that the 
prisoner will not be lynched. Our character as a law- 
abiding people . . . ought to be such as to fur- 
nish a guarantee everywhere of a fair trial for any pris- 
oner for whom requisition is asked ... I cannot 
too strongly urge on your Honorable Body the duty of 
devising some means for the eflBcient, certain and 
speedy trial of crimes, and at the same time to make 
such provision as will protect every citizen, however 
humble, however vicious, however guilty, against trial 
by the mob." 

Aycock's efforts to suppress mob violence, of course, 
met with support from all law-abiding, patriotic citizens, 
and contributed much to the accomplishment of that 
end. He was able to declare in his last message to the 
Legislature, 1905, that lynchings had become much 
less frequent in the State and expressed the belief that 
"we are close to the time when lawlessness shall go 
from among us." 



102 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

" The best way to safeguard society is for good people 
themselves to obey the law. We cannot stop crime by 
committing it; we cannot teach obedience to the law 
by disobeying it; we cannot preserve order by the 
means of a mob. . . . The creating of better 
public opinion, the passage of laws making more effec- 
tive the means of ascertaining and punishing all those 
participating in lynching, speedy trial and prompt 
punishment of criminals, shall all be invoked until we 
secure for ourselves the absolute and unquestioned 
reign of the law." 

The most important business interests of Aycock's 
administration were the penitentiary, the South Dakota 
suit, and the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. 
Of his management of the penitentiary it is sufficient 
to say that while under his predecessor the Legislature 
found it necessary to appropriate more than $225,000 
out of the State treasury for its support and yet turned 
it over to Aycock in debt, under his administration the 
institution was not only self-supporting, but turned into 
the State treasury a considerable revenue, and had on 
hand at the close of his term a balance of $132,867. 

Something more than this must be said of the South 
Dakota suit. This was a suit brought by the State of 
South Dakota against the State of North Carohna on 
ten bonds of the latter, which certain brokers in New 
York had assigned to the former without consideration, 
for the purpose of evading the Eleventh Amendment 
to the Constitution of the United States, seeking there- 
by to draw into the jurisdiction of the court other 
bonds of the same class remaining in the brokers' 
hands. These bonds were part of an issue of 1866 sold 
for the purpose of aiding in the construction of the 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 103 

Western North Carolina Railroad and secured by a 
second mortgage on the State's stock in the North 
Carolina Railroad Company. Issued immediately 
after the Civil War, when the credit of the State was 
low, they brought prices ranging from 25 to 60 cents on 
the dollar. In 1879 the Legislature, reahzing the im- 
possibility of the State's paying all of its obligations, 
passed an act looking to the commutation and settle- 
ment of the State debt. In that settlement provision 
was made for the compromise of these second mort- 
gage bonds at 25 cents on the dollar. All the bonds were 
easily adjusted on this basis except two hundred and 
fifty held by the Schafer Brothers of New York, who 
refused to accept the compromise offered by the State. 
In 1901 they memoriaUzed the Legislature asking for a 
settlement, but the Legislature declined to take any 
action. Later they donated ten of the bonds to the 
State of South Dakota, and on October 7, 1901, South 
Dakota applied to the Supreme Court of the United 
States for permission to file her bill of complaint against 
the State of North Carolina in order to enforce the pay- 
ment of the bonds. Referring to this action Aycock, 
in his message to the Legislature of 1905, said: 

"No demand had ever been made by the State of 
South Dakota upon this State for the payment of said 
bonds so donated to her, and the first information I had 
of the purpose of the said State to sue this State was 
notice in the newspapers of the country that applica- 
tion had been made to the Supreme Court of the United 
States for permission to bring the suit." 

He declared that in his judgment the settlement of 
1879 was "honorable to the State and just to her cred- 



104 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

itors," and accordingly he employed counsel to aid the 
Attorney-General in defending the suit. The Court 
however, by a vote of five to four, decided against the 
State of North Carolina. 

Eminent lawyers, business men and editors, and even 
some members of the administration, believed that, in 
spite of the decision of the Supreme Court, there was no 
way in which the judgment could be enforced against 
the State; and they vigorously opposed any settle- 
ment. Ay cock believed "that the jurisdiction of the 
United States Court over this matter had been secured 
by chicanery," and thought the decision wrong and un- 
just; nevertheless, the decision of the highest court 
of the land imposed a moral obligation on the State, 
whether the judgment could be forcibly collected or 
not, to bow to the decree, and he therefore recom- 
mended to the Legislature the prompt payment of the 
judgment, and the settlement of the bonds still in the 
brokers' hands on the best basis possible. He thought 
that it would be an easy matter to settle them "at 
much less than their face value." Accordingly the 
Legislature provided for their settlement, which was 
done under his successor, on a basis of 25 cents on the 
dollar with interest, the same basis which the State 
had offered in 1879. 

Perhaps the most important single business interest 
of the State over which the Governor exercised control 
was the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. As 
Ay cock's management of this property reveals him in an 
altogether different light from that in which he is best 
known, we do not think it out of place to treat it some- 
what in detail. When he began his administration the 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 105 

affairs of the company were not in good shape. Its 
stock, of which the State owned something more than 
70 per cent., could not be sold for more than 25 cents 
on the dollar. The best offer that could be obtained 
for a lease did not exceed I3 per cent, on its capital of 
$1,800,000. Under Ay cock's administration the re- 
ceipts were nearly doubled, the roadbed was put in 
excellent repair, the rolling stock improved and the 
facilities for handling its business greatly increased. 
At the close of the third year of his management the 
stock was "selling readily at $50" and three offers for 
a lease had been filed averaging more than 5 per cent. 
^Miile the Governor was considering these offers one 
of the bidders, V. E. McBee, attempted to force his 
hands by having the road throTVTi into the hands of a 
receiver. By agreeing to pay three times their market 
value, he secured an option on forty-seven shares of 
stock, which he had transferred to one K. S. Finch of 
New York. Finch gave his note for the full amount to 
the original owner, at the same time depositing the cer- 
tificates with it as collateral. Such was the basis upon 
which he expected to secure a standing in the Federal 
Court. In the meantime his complaint had already 
been completed except for filling in the number of his 
shares, which had been left blank because it was not 
known how many he might be able to buy. This detail 
finally arranged, McBee, Finch and their attorneys 
took a midnight train for Norfolk, Virginia, where 
they expected to find Judge Thomas R. Purnell, of the 
United States District Court for the Eastern District 
of North Carolina. Early the following morning their 
complaint, alleging mismanagement of the road, was 



106 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

duly filed. The Judge was outside of his jurisdiction; 
he had before him no evidence except the allega- 
tions of the complaint; no notice had been served on 
the State or any private stockholder. The Atlantic 
and North Carolina Railroad was a domestic corpora- 
tion. All its property was in North Carolina. It had 
not absconded, nor was it alleged that there was any 
danger of its absconding. Its officers were all within 
the jurisdiction of the Court, and could easily be reached 
at any time. No claim was made that a delay of a few 
days would work injury to the property. No emergency 
had arisen, or was even alleged to have arisen, to make 
immediate action necessary. Nevertheless, in spite of 
all these undisputed facts, the Judge granted the prayer 
and appointed McBee receiver. The new receiver 
hurried to New Bern, where the company's offices were 
located, peremptorily ejected the old officials, and with 
much vaunting of the great things he proposed to do, 
took charge of the road. 

But McBee had overlooked the Governor of North 
Carohna. Aycock was left to hear of the receivership 
by chance. Amazed at the action of the Federal Court, 
he determined to resist it with the full power of the 
State. Inquiry at the office of the company's treasurer 
revealed the fact that Finch's name did not appear 
on the company's stock book. Further inquiry showed 
that not a single creditor, not a single private stock- 
holder had joined in Finch's complaint. On the con- 
trary three fourths of the latter hastened to appeal to 
the Governor to protect their interests. After a thor- 
ough review of the whole situation, though he could 
not then get at all the facts, Aycock discovered enough 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 107 

to convince him that a conspiracy had been formed to 
despoil the State of its property, and he determined to 
crush it with a strong hand. 

Fully realizing the danger in forcing an issue between 
the State and Federal authorities, he proceeded cau- 
tiously, but firmly, carefully entrenching himself behind 
the law in every position. At his instance Attorney- 
General Gilmer swore out an affidavit before Chief 
Justice Clark, of the State Supreme Court, charging 
Finch and McBee with a criminal conspiracy '*to in- 
jure, damage and impoverish the property of the 
Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company." 
Upon this affidavit the Chief Justice issued a bench 
warrant for their arrest. Finch was out of the State, 
but McBee was promptly apprehended and brought 
before the Chief Justice for examination. The Govern- 
or's action was a bomb in the camp of the conspirators. 
Newspapers hostile to the administration assailed his 
course wath vigor. Individuals favorable to them 
joined in the clamor. Others were equally outspoken 
in his defence. Throughout the State interest was 
raised to white heat. The daring of the conspirators, 
the boldness of the Governor, the thundering of the 
press, the importance of the interests at stake, stirred 
the State from one end to the other. When McBee, 
in charge of the Sheriff of Craven County, was brought 
before the Chief Justice, an immense crowd packed 
the courtroom. The presence of the Governor, the 
Attorney-General and other State officials, the eminence 
of the counsel on both sides, the eagerness with which 
the defendant sought to avoid examination, the per- 
sistency with which the State endeavored to force a 



108 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

disclosure of all the facts, the stubbornness with which 
every inch of ground was contested, and the skill with 
which the counsel took advantage of every legal point, 
all combined to make it one of the most dramatic scenes 
in the recent history of the State. From the unwilling 
defendant the State's counsel wrung a full statement 
of all the facts which fully justified the Governor's 
action. The Chief Justice bound McBee over to the 
Superior Court under a $2,000 bond; and the next day 
Circuit Judge Charles H. Simonton dissolved the 
receivership. 

The fight, however, was not at an end. The con- 
spirators returned to the charge, and in the name of 
John P. Cuyler of New York again asked for a re- 
ceivership. Cuyler alleged that he owned thirty- 
seven shares of stock "which even at par," as Governor 
Ay cock declared, "would not pay the expenses of a 
lawsuit in the Circuit Court of the United States,'* 
though as a matter of fact he did not control a single 
share. As Aycock stated: "The difference between 
Finch's suit and Cuyler 's was that Finch brought suit 
before he got control of any stock and Cuyler brought 
his after he lost control of it. They were both puppets 
in the hands of some man or some men seeking to de- 
spoil the State of her property." As a test of Cuyler 's 
good faith Aycock "caused an effort to be made to 
purchase his stock, but he declined to consider any prop- 
osition for its purchase. He would not take par for stock 
in a road of which he alleged the management was bad, 
inefficient and lawless." On May 28th Judge Purnell 
heard his complaint, ordered a second receivership, and 
appointed Thomas D. Meares receiver. Two days 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 109 

later he appointed a co-receiver, V. E. McBee, 
and on the same day the Grand Jury of Wake County 
returned a true bill against McBee for criminal con- 
spiracy in the matter of the first receivership ! 

Again McBee hurried to New Bern and together 
with Meares again took charge of the road. But his 
triumph was even briefer than before. On May 31st 
Chief Justice Fuller of the United States Supreme Court, 
upon application of the State, granted a writ of super- 
sedeas commanding that the order of the lower court 
"be stayed and suspended, and that the properties of 
the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company 
be left in the hands of its officers until the further 
order of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.'* 
Even toward this order McBee and Meares showed de- 
fiance, and refused to obey. Thereupon Ay cock tele- 
graphed to the officers of the Company at New Bern : 

" Put receivers out of office. If necessary call on the 
sheriff to put them out. If military is needed notify 
me. Order of Chief Justice Fuller shall be obeyed." 

But such drastic measures were not necessary. The 
conspirators had now learned something about the 
character of North Carolina's Governor, and when 
they were shown his telegram they prudently gave up 
the fight. 

The Governor's course met with the approval of 
patriotic and law-abiding citizens. His courage was 
the theme of every man's conversation. But a general 
review of the whole matter leaves one in doubt whether 
most to admire his boldness or his wisdom. Every 
step that he took was carefully considered and com- 



110 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

pletely vindicated by the results. The property of the 
State was saved from spoHation and later leased upon 
terms advantageous to all. This lease he made to the 
Howland Improvement Company which afterward 
transferred it to the Norfolk-Southern Railway Com- 
pany. The vast improvements made in the road, the 
benefits received by the section through which it runs, 
and the revenue yielded to the State, justify Aycock's 
policy. At the time of his death, as counsel for a syn- 
dicate in close connection with the Norfolk-Southern 
Railway Company, he was taking an important part 
in consummating plans for the extension of the system 
over a large territory. Thus the policy which he pur- 
sued has resulted for the first time in giving adequate 
railroad facilities to the eastern section of the State, 
in opening up large sections of the State for develop- 
ment, in promoting the commercial, agricultural and 
manufacturing interests of the east, and in bringing 
it into closer touch with the rest of the State than it has 
ever been before. Ay cock foresaw all this development 
and gave it, at the time of making the lease, as his reason 
for preferring a foreign syndicate to a home one. 

When Aycock was elected governor many of his 
friends, though acknowledging his preeminent ability 
as an orator and a la\\^er, were doubtful whether he 
had had suflScient experience as a man of affairs to 
manage successfully the business interests of the State. 
After his management of the affairs of the state prison, 
and other state institutions, the problems arising out 
of the South Dakota suit, and the Atlantic and North 
Carolina Railroad, no one ever again questioned his 
business sagacity and ability. 



CHAPTER VIII 



THE constitutional power of the governor of 
North Carolina to affect legislation is a neg- 
ligible quantity. Possessing no veto power 
and but little patronage, he has no '*big stick" with 
which he can persuade refractory legislators to see 
public questions as he sees them. It is related that 
William Hooper, after the adjournment of the Con- 
vention of 1776, that framed the Constitution of North 
Carolina, was asked by one of his constituents what 
powers the new Constitution conferred upon the gov- 
ernor. "Power, sir," replied Hooper, "to sign a 
receipt for his salary!" From that day to this no ad- 
ditional power over legislation has been given to the 
governor. There is a well-authenticated story that 
when a recent governor expressed the wish that he 
could be relieved of the trouble and worry involved in 
the pardoning power, a witty lawyer retorted : " \Miy, 
Governor, if the pardoning power were taken away from 
the governor, I'd take the job for ten dollars a month." 
Nevertheless there have been governors of North 
Carolina who realized that the prestige of the office 
gives to a governor inspired with a great purpose a 
power for moulding public opinion and thus influencing 
legislation more potent than any "big stick " could ever 

111 



in THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

give. Such in ante-bellum days was Governor More- 
head who, using the prestige of his office for the ad- 
vancement of works of internal improvements, won for 
himself a distinctive place in the history of the State; 
such in our own day was Governor Glenn, who, by 
throwing the prestige of his office behind the prohibi- 
tion movement, gave to it a momentum which other- 
wise it never could have acquired. More strongly 
than any of his predecessors, or any of his successors, 
did Charles B. Ay cock realize the effectiveness of the 
weapon which the office places in the hands of the 
incumbent. It was this that induced him to seek it. 
Merely to be governor meant nothing to him; to be 
governor with a purpose meant everything to him. 
And he had a purpose, and it was in order that he 
might throw behind this purpose all the moral in- 
fluence of the office, that he desired to be governor. 
His purpose was to uplift all the people of North Caro- 
lina, white and black, through the power of universal 
education. 

Aycock's interest in public education was not a 
sudden caprice. As a mere boy, before entering the 
University, he had taught a public school in Wayne 
County. At the University he took a deep interest in 
the subject. His first public office, (1881-1882) was 
the superintendency of the Wayne County public 
school system. For more than seventeen years (1887- 
1901, 1905-1909), he served on the Board of Trustees 
of the Goldsboro Public Schools, most of the time as 
chairman. 

He always kept in close touch with the most ad- 
vanced educational thought of the day. He induced 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 113 

the Board of Trustees of the Goldsboro Public Schools 
to grant the first pension ever given to a public school 
teacher in North Carolina. The education of the 
children of the "factory districts" deeply interested 
him. He opposed the segregation of the factory opera- 
tives from the other people of the community and the 
education of their children in separate " factory schools," 
because this custom, he thought, tended to create and 
develop a caste system, and that offended his ideals 
of democracy. He advocated and interested the peo- 
ple of his county in plans for the erection in Wayne 
County of a public county high school which should 
base its curriculum on the life and resources of the 
community which it was designed to serve. Agri- 
culture, manual training, domestic science and all the 
household arts were to take their places in the course 
of study along v\^ith the so-called cultural studies. While 
he was considering these plans the present State High 
School Law was enacted designed to accomplish for all 
the counties of the State the purposes which he had in 
mind for Wayne County. 

Perhaps it is some indication of the wisdom with 
which, as chairman, he directed the affairs of the Golds- 
boro schools that, during his incumbency, the list of 
those who served the schools as superintendent in- 
cluded Edwin A. Alderman, now President of the 
University of Virginia; James Y. Joyner, now State 
Superintendent of PubKc Instruction of North Caro- 
lina; Julius I. Foust, now President of the North Caro- 
lina State Normal and Industrial College for Women, 
and Eugene C. Brooks, now Professor of Pedagogy in 
Trinity College. "His influence," says President 



114 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Foust, "so Lhoroughly permeated the community and 
the school board that it is almost impossible to select 
any definite service that he rendered. I remember 
his telling me at the time he was elected governor that 
he had rather be chairman of the Goldsboro School 
Board than be governor of North Carolina. He said 
that he never hoped to receive any honor that he 
would appreciate half so much as he appreciated the 
honor of helping to direct the Goldsboro schools as 
chairman of their Board of Trustees. I was superin- 
tendent of the Goldsboro schools for nine years. For 
most of that time Governor Ay cock was chairman of 
the Board. He was a busy man, but I never found him. 
too busy to give any amount of time to the considera- 
tion of questions affecting the welfare of the schools." 

On January 15, 1901, the children of the Goldsboro 
Public Schools enjoyed a holiday because on that day, 
in the Capital City of the State, the chairman of their 
Board of Trustees was to be inaugurated governor, and 
to become chairman of the Board of Trustees of all the 
public schools of North Carolina.* At that time, as 
Mr. Brooks has said, "North Carolina did not believe 
in public education.*' Only thirty districts in the 
State, all urban, considered education of suflBcient im- 
portance to levy a local tax for the support of schools. 
The average salary paid to county superintendents 
annually was less than one dollar a day, to public school 
teachers, $91.25 for the term. This meant, of course, 
that the oflSce of county superintendent was either a 
"political job," usually given to some struggling young 
attorney for local party service, or a public charity used 

*The governor is President of the State Board of Education. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 115 

to help support the growing family of some needy but 
deserving preacher; and, further, that there were no]>ro- 
fessional teachers in the public schools. Practically no 
interest was manifested in the building or equipment of 
schoolhouses. The children of more than 950 public 
school districts were altogether without schoolhouses, 
while those in 1,132 districts sat on rough pine boards 
in log houses chinked with clay. Perhaps under all these 
circumstances it was well enough that the schools were 
kept open only seventy- three days in the year, and that 
less than one third of the children of school age attended 
them. "Many of our most progressive towns, commer- 
cially, stood solidly against voting any taxes for schools, 
and one town after making the supposed mistake of 
voting the tax, and after trying the public schools for 
a year or two, voted the tax out, closed the school, and 
celebrated the event with bonfires and brass bands.'* 
The civilization of the State was based on an ultra- 
individualism, and thousands of citizens, conscientious, 
intelligent, patriotic, honestly could not understand 
why they should pay taxes to educate other people's 
children. Other thousands were willing to support 
schools for white children, but stood steadfastly and 
doggedly against the education of the negro; and as 
school taxes could not, under the Constitution, be voted 
for the former without being voted for the latter, these 
people appear to have been willing to deny education 
to white children in order that they might keep the 
negro in ignorance. Thus, to complicate a situation 
already sufficiently difficult, the race issue injected its 
poison into the very vitals of the problem. 

There had been no lack of eloquent advocates in 



116 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

North Carolina to plead the cause of universal educa- 
tion. In ante-bellum days Joseph Caldwell, Archi^ 
bald D. Murphey, and Calvin H. Wiley — whom Ay- 
cock called "the founder of our public schools and the 
most eloquent advocate of them " — had aroused no in- 
considerable amount of interest in the cause, and had laid 
the foundation of a system that promised great things for 
the future. But like other progressive movements of 
the period, after withstanding the ravages of civil war, 
these schools had gone to wreck in the cataclysm of 
reconstruction. In the years following the period of 
reconstruction came John C. Scarborough, Sydney M. 
Finger, Charles H. Mebane, superintendents of public 
instruction, who established and organized the public 
school system of to-day. To this period of our edu- 
cational history belongs, too, the pioneer work of Edwin 
A. Alderman and Charles Duncan Mclver, whom Dr. 
Alderman declared to be "the most effective speaker 
for public education that I have known in America.*' 
Id the summer of 1889, as Dr. Alderman has said, these 
two men undertook "a new and untried experiment in 
North Carolina or the South, a deliberate effort by 
unique campaign methods to create and mould public 
opinion on the question of popular education, involving 
taxation for the benefit of others"; and for three years, 
in every county in the State, they prosecuted their 
work with "full-blooded enthusiasm, exaltation and 
faith in the people. . . . And,'* continues Dr. 
Alderman, "some good seed were sown, I think, which 
have increased some thirty, some sixty, and some a 
hundredfold." 

It was the harvest of these seed that Aycock came to 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 117 

reap. He did not initiate the movement of which he 
came to be the chief exponent and the most eloquent 
advocate. He did not formulate its policies. This 
was the work for the educational expert, and he realized 
it. *' I have not stood alone in this work," said he. '* I 
did not originate it." His work was to present the 
cause to the people and to secure their support without 
which all the policies of the professional educator, how- 
ever wise, were futile. Aycock's distinctive service 
to the cause of education was that he brought to it the 
prestige and influence of his high office, and gave to 
it, without stint, the benefit of his o^^a matchless 
eloquence. The people heard him because he was gov- 
ernor; they listened because his earnestness and sin- 
cerity were unfeigned; they followed him because his 
eloquence was irresistible. 

The adoption of the Suffrage Amendment, with its 
educational test for suffrage after 1908, gave Ay cock 
the opportunity for which he had been waiting and 
preparing. With this as the basis of his appeal, leav- 
ing the technical details of the problem to the Super- 
intendent of Public Instruction and his professional 
advisers, Aycock went to the people upon the general 
issue of universal education. In his Inaugural Address, 
speaking to the General Assembly, he said: 

"On a hundred platforms, to half the voters of the 
State, in the late campaign, I pledged the State, its 
strength, its heart, its wealth, to universal education. 
. . . Men of wealth, representatives of great cor- 
porations applauded eagerly my declaration. I then 
reaHzed that the strong desire which dominated me for 
the uplifting of the whole people moved not only my 



118 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

heart, but was likewise the hope and aspiration of those 
upon whom fortune had smiled. . . . Then I knew 
that the task before us . . . was not an impossible 
one. We are prospering as never before — our wealth 
increases, our industries multiply, our commerce ex- 
tends, and among the owners of this wealth, this multi- 
plying industry, this extending commerce, I have found 
no man who is unwilling to make the State stronger and 
better by liberal aid to the cause of education. Gentle- 
men of the Legislature, you will not have aught to fear 
when you make ample provision for the education of 
the whole people. . . . For my part I declare to 
you that it shall be my constant aim and effort during 
the four years that I shall endeavor to serve the people 
of this State to redeem this most solemn of all our 
pledges." 

Ayeock fully redeemed this pledge. As soon as the 
Legislature of 1901 adjourned, together with State 
Superintendent Toon, he started out on a canvass of 
the State in the interest of his educational policy. But 
a serious difficulty immediately presented itself. North 
Carolina is a large state. It has no centres of popula- 
tion. More than 80 per cent, of its people live on their 
farms widely scattered over an immense territory. 
The time in which a canvass of the State can success- 
fully be made is limited to three or four months of the 
year. Though both the Governor and the Super- 
intendent of Public Instruction were willing to give 
freely of their time and money, it was impossible for 
them alone to reach more than a small percentage of the 
people. Only a general campaign, calling into service 
a large number of volunteers, could accomplish this 
task. But there was no money for defraying the ex- 
penses of such a campaign, and this fact threatened for 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 119 

a time to impede the carrying out of the Governor's 
policy. The winter of 1901 brought unexpected re- 
lief, through the organization of the Southern Educa- 
tion Board, composed of educational philanthropists, 
statesmen, and teachers of all parts of the Union, for 
the purpose of promoting the cause of education in the 
South. This board proposed to supply the funds for 
financing such campaigns as Ay cock had in mind, and 
Ay cock eagerly accepted its aid. 

Early in 1902, at the instance of Charles D. Mclver, 
chairman of the Campaign Committee of the Southern 
Education Board, Aycock called into conference a 
number of men prominent in the educational work of 
North Carolina. The conference was held in his office, 
February 13th, and was presided over by him. Present 
at it, besides the Governor, were the presidents of the 
State University, of the State Normal and Industrial 
College for Women, of the North Carolina College of 
Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, of Wake Forest, 
Trinity, Davidson, and other church colleges, members 
of their faculties, superintendents of city and county 
school systems, and other teachers and educational 
leaders. The purpose of the conference was to allay the 
differences that had long divided the educational forces 
of the State, to unite them all in support of the educa- 
tional policy of the administration, and to organize a 
state-wide educational campaign. There was but one 
man in the State who could have brought together all 
these warring factions and accomplished this purpose. 
Him all, whatever their previous differences may have 
been, were willing to follow. 

The work of this conference began an important 



120 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

chapter in the educational history of North Carolina, 
and of the South. "A Declaration against Illiteracy" 
— a stirring address to the people of North Carolina — 
was adopted, giving a plain, unvarnished statement of 
the educational conditions in the State, setting forth a 
sort of educational platform and calling upon the people 
"to band themselves together under the leadership of 
our * Educational Governor' and the State Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction to carry forward the work 
of local taxation and better schools, to the end that 
every child within our borders may have the opportu- 
nity to fit himself for the duties of citizenship and 
social service." The conference created "The Central 
Campaign Committee for the Promotion of Public 
Education in North CaroHna," composed of Ay cock, 
Toon, and Mclver. This committee's work was to 
organize and conduct a general and systematic cam- 
paign for local taxation, consohdation of districts, 
better schoolhouses, and longer school terms. In the 
following interview given to the press, Aycock gave 
his impressions of the conference: 

"The Educational Conference held in Raleigh this 
week resulted in bringing together the forces which 
have heretofore worked separately in the fight against 
ilhteracy. In the past we have been wanting in the 
power which comes from unity of action. We have 
always had among educators a common purpose, now 
we are going to join in the actual work. The conference 
was harmonious throughout. There was a free inter- 
change of views. We faced the actual facts and have 
pubhshed them as they are. Before any evil can be 
corrected it must be known to exist. We know that 20 
per cent, of our white population over ten years of age 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 121 

cannot read and write. Knowing this we determined 
that each year should show a decrease in this number. 
To this end a systematic campaign will be organized. 
Speakers will be sent out over the State, the news- 
papers — always on the side of popular education — 
will be asked to devote more space to educational 
matters, and the preachers are invited to join in this 
great work. The conference did much good. It 
stimulated us all and gave us renewed hope and 
courage." 

State Superintendent Toon was prevented from at- 
tending the conference by serious illness which, a few 
days later, resulted in his death. In his message to 
the General Assembly of 1903 Ay cock paid the follow- 
ing tribute to his memory : 

"On the 19th day of February, 1902, Gen. Thomas 
F. Toon, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the 
State, fell on sleep. His record is one of which the 
State may well be proud. He entered the Confederate 
Army a young man as a private, and without outside 
influence, by merit alone, won promotion after promo- 
tion, until he became a Brigadier-General. He freely 
offered his life for the independence of the South. He 
finally gave it in behalf of the education of the children. 
He was engaged in canvassing the State in advocacy of 
larger educational facilities when he was attacked by 
pneumonia. He ended his life as he had spent it, in 
patriotic service for the State. As soldier, as citizen, 
as officer, he was always faithful and gave to the cause 
which he espoused his full devotion. He died as he 
lived, without other fear than that which we are told is 
the beginning of wisdom." 

To succeed General Toon, Aycock selected James 
Yadkin Joyner, professor of English in the State Normal 



122 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

and Industrial College for Women. The new State 
Superintendent had spent his life in the quiet of the 
student's cloister, and was an unknown man to the 
State at large. But Ay cock knew him. They had been 
friends in their college days. They had worked to- 
gether as chairman and superintendent of the Golds- 
boro Public Schools. In no act of his administration 
did Ay cock show better judgment than in selecting 
this "modest, retiring teacher" to become the head 
of the most important department of the State govern- 
ment; and at the close of the first decade of his service, 
it seemed no exaggeration to say that "whoever writes 
the educational history of this decade will be the 
biographer of James Yadkin Joyner." 

Early in the summer of 1902, the Campaign Com- 
mittee — now composed of Aycock, Mclver and Joyner 
— opened headquarters in the office of the Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction, and inaugurated the 
most unique campaign in the history of the State which 
has continued, with more or less interest, until the 
present day. Men of every profession and business 
volunteered their services, and in open-air meetings, 
in courthouses, in churches, in schoolhouses, wherever 
the people could assemble, they gathered to hear 
the most effective orators and debaters in the State dis- 
cuss educational problems and policies. For the first 
time in the history of North Carolina politics yielded 
first place in public interest to education. 

As in the amendment campaign of 1900, so in the 
educational campaign of 1902, the man whom the peo- 
ple were most eager to hear was Charles B. Aycock. 
But his work did not stop with the campaign of 1902. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK n$ 

For four years he let pass no opportunity, indeed, he 
frequently sought opportunities to present his cause to 
the people. In the city and in the country, at the 
remotest rural school and at the State University, at 
colleges for women and at colleges for men, at church 
schools and at state schools, at institutions for whites 
and at institutions for negroes; before teachers' assem- 
blies, before political conventions, before commercial 
clubs, before patriotic societies, before social organiza- 
tions; whether addressing a conference of Northern 
philanthropists in Georgia or an association of Southern 
teachers in Florida, whether speaking to the manu- 
facturers of North Carolina or to the farmers of Maine, 
whether opening a negro fair in Raleigh or responding 
to a toast before the North Carolina Society at the 
Waldorf-Astoria in New York, his theme was always 
the same — the general uplift of all the people through 
the power of universal education. He never wearied 
of his theme, and the people never tired of hearing him. 
Ay cock's philosophy of education is embraced in his 
Inaugural Address ("The Ideals of a New Era"), 
in his speech before the Southern Educational 
Association at Jacksonville, Fla., on "How the South 
May Regain Its Prestige," and in his famous speech 
on "Universal Education." It was the last of 
these that gave him his great reputation as an 
educational campaigner, and brought him invitations 
from Maine to Alabama, from North Carolina to Okla- 
homa. In the summer of 1904, at the invitation of the 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction of Maine, 
he made a tour of that State speaking everywhere to 
large and appreciative audiences. He was dehvering 



124 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

this speech to an enthusiastic, cheering audience in the 
State of Alabama when he fell dead. As the three 
speeches mentioned are printed in full in this volume 
it is not necessary to make any further reference to 
them. We think it advisable, however, to quote a few 
characteristic passages from addresses delivered on 
special occasions that were of more than passing in- 
terest. 

One of these was his response to the toast, "What is 
North Carolina doing to meet the changed conditions 
brought about by the war? "at the annual banquet of 
the North Carolina Society in New York City, May 21, 
1901. Since not a Uttle adverse criticism of recent 
political events in North Carolina had appeared in 
influential journals throughout the North, Ay cock was 
glad of an opportunity to speak on this topic in the 
great metropolis. His speech was devoted largely to a 
reply to the criticisms and to a plea for a better under- 
standing of the position of North Carolina and other 
Southern States on the issues involved. He gave a 
rapid and vivid sketch of the conditions that had com- 
pelled the State to shake off the burden of negro rule, 
declared that the Amendment did no injustice to the 
negro, and described its beneficial effects on the indus- 
trial and educational life of the State. Said he 

"With the solution of our suffrage question there has 
come larger liberty of thought and action. . . . We 
have gone out of politics and taken up business. . . . 
We have ceased to set brawn against brain. We have 
learned the power of skill and are training our young 
people in the ways of thrift and economy. . . . We 
are going to educate the entire population. . . . We 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 125 

spent on education this year more than half of the 
entire revenue of the State. ... In educating all 
our people we shall not depart from the memories of 
the past nor forget the teachings of our ancestors. We 
beheve in agriculture and in commerce; we want to see 
all the people grow in wealth, but above all we wish to 
maintain that sturdy fidelity to principle and that 
apparent disregard of life which has ever distinguished 
North Carolinians in every contest w^here heroism 
counted. . . . 

*' We are doing no injustice to any one. We have 
peace throughout the length and breadth of the State. 
The humblest negro, slave though he may have been, 
and unlettered as he is, can enter our courts of justice 
with absolute certainty of a fair trial. He can turn to 
the Legislature and his appeal for legislative aid in the 
education of his children will not go unheeded, and I 
declare to you that his prayer for clemency will not be 
unheard in the executive office. . . . 

** We do not ask for charity; we are not seeking gifts; 
all that we want is to be let alone to work out for our- 
selves, in love, in peace, in quiet, in the fear of God, the 
great problems which confront us. W^e wish to be 
understood, and I ask you, gentlemen of the North 
Carolina Society, to study our situation, inform your- 
selves of our conditions, and in this great metropolis 
to let all men know the problems which confront us, and 
the sincerity of motive with which we are endeavoring 
to solve them." 

Just a month after this address was delivered he 
spoke before the Manufacturers' Club of Charlotte. 
The following passage illustrates his method of appeal 
to the business interests of the State for support of his 
educational policy: 

"We have entered upon a new era in the develop- 
ment of our State. ... If, indeed, we are to have 



126 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

a new era we must give due regard to the ideas of other 
people. . . . Less than 18 per cent, of our popula- 
tion dwell in cities and towns. Eighty-two per cent, 
of them still abide in the country, and provincial as the 
modern man may think them, they are still the power 
which controls the destinies of the State, and shapes the 
hopes and aspirations of the entire community. . . . 
You cannot in the nature of things strike out on lines 
which are antagonistic to the views of 82 per cent, 
of the people. I care not how strong you may be, 
nor how rich you may be, after all, this is a govern- 
ment of the people, by the people, and for the people, 
and particular interests will ever find that their true 
course is in harmony with that of a majority of the 
people. Your manufacturing interests are subject 
to legislation, and legislation is controlled by the views 
of a majority of the people. ... I am anxious to 
see every agency which tends to increase the wealth 
of the State prosper and receive that encouragement 
which comes from a friendly view on the part of those 
who possess governmental powers. . . . 

**I urge you [therefore], with all your might and 
power to put yourselves in the front of this great move- 
ment for universal education. With education will 
come renewed activity, increased and better work, 
higher skill and consequently higher wages. Every 
one must recognize that the wealth of the State is 
dependent upon the wages which are paid to the earners, 
and these wages in turn are dependent upon the capac- 
ity of the wage earner, and this capacity is dependent 
in a large measure upon the quickness and skill which 
comes with an acquaintance with books. 

"When the glorious day of universal education shall 
come, our State will stand among those in the fore rank 
of the nation, our opinions upon all questions will be 
ascertained before action. Our writers shall do justice 
to the memories of the past, our historians shall give 
us an adequate account of the sufferings and sacrifices 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 127 

of our ancestors. Our novelists shall find rich material 
for the illustration of the character of our people, and 
we shall be enriched by the culture which comes from 
a literature of our own. 

**God speed the day when men shall be willing to 
labor for the good of all, and when brethren shall 
dwell together in unity." 

Aycock never deceived himself, or anybody else, by 
trying to make it appear that his educational policy 
could be carried out without largely increased ex- 
penditures. He frankly admitted that much more 
money would be needed than the people of North Caro- 
lina were accustomed to spending, and that this money 
must be raised by increased taxes. Defending his 
administration before the Democratic State Conven- 
tion of 1904, he exclaimed, with deep emotion and 
magical effect: 

" It undoubtedly appears cheaper to neglect the aged, 
the feeble, the infirm, the defective, to forget the chil- 
dren of this generation, but the man who does it is 
cursed of God, and the State that permits it is certain 
of destruction. There are people on the face of the 
earth who take no care of the weak and infirm, who care 
nought for their children and provide only for the 
gratification of their own desires, but these people 
neither wear clothes nor dwell in houses. They leave 
God out of consideration in their estimate of life, and 
are known to us as savages." 

Speaking on this subject before the Conference for 
Education in the South, held at Athens, Georgia, in 
1902, he said: 

"Some of our people here have said that the j>eople 
are afraid of taxes. They are, and they ought to be. 



128 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

There never has been a battle fought for English and 
American liberty and won that has not been fought 
along the line of taxation. Taxation is a dangerous 
power, and the people ought to say at every point 
when and how they shall be taxed. The taxation 
about which we fought was taxation that was spent by 
a king in ostentation and oppression, and the people 
learned that to keep themselves from being oppressed 
they must keep the purse strings; but the taxation that 
goes for the upbuilding of the public schools is the very 
freedom and Hberty of the people. 

Let us not complain of the sensitiveness of our people 
upon the subject of taxation, for it is ingrained and 
beats with their blood. What we want is to leave off 
discussion and get the strength and benefit that comes 
from community of action. We want local taxation, 
for . . . eager and anxious as we are to uplift 
our people, we recognize that it would not uplift us 
if some kind-hearted people came along to pay for our 
instruction. Education means some self-sacrifice to 
achieve the higher and better things. I want to say 
to our distinguished friends while in conference here 
that I count it far more gain to the cause of education 
that we meet together as brethren and discuss these 
matters than the gift of all the miUions which they 
could pour into this work." 

Men of property frequently met Aycock's argument 
for extra school taxes with the declaration that they 
would be willing to pay the taxes for schools if the State 
would pass a compulsory school attendance law. He 
recognized the force of this position, but he opposed the 
remedy suggested. 

"The question now confronting North Carolina," 
said he, "is the education of her children, and this 
can only be accomplished by the creation of a public 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 129 

opinion so potent that no man will dare to leave his 
child out of the schools. . . . Let us compel the 
attendance of every child, not by law, but by the power 
of an opinion that cannot be resisted." "I know these 
North Carolina people. They can be led, but it is hard 
to compel them. So I am in favor of writing it in the 
hearts of men. It will be better there. I want to get 
public opinion behind it. I want to create a sentiment 
in North Carolina that will keep any little boy or girl 
from having to make a support for his father who is 
sitting on the corner whittling a piece of white pine." 

In line with this position, he favored and recom- 
mended to the Legislature the passage of an act regulat- 
ing the labor of children in textile and furniture fac- 
tories. His recommendation, the first of its kind ever 
made by a governor of North Carolina, was to forbid 
absolutely the employment in such factories of any 
child under twelve years of age, the employment for 
night work of any child under fourteen, and, after 1905, 
the employment either day or night of any child under 
fourteen who could not read and write. Such a clause, 
said he, would be "a mild form of compulsory education 
around factory towns." This recommendation re- 
sulted in putting on the statute books of North Carolina 
the first child labor law in the history of the State. He 
never lost interest in this problem, and until the day of 
his death served actively as a member of the North 
Carolina Child Labor Committee, whose work is grad- 
ually bringing North Carolina into line with the most 
progressive states of the Union on this subject. 

When Ay cock declared in favor of "universal educa- 
tion," he meant exactly what the expression implies. 
He included in it the education of the negro as well as 



130 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of the white. One of the finest passage* in his Inau- 
gural Address is that in which he assured the negroes of 
the State that his administration would not be un- 
friendly to them. "Their every right under the Con- 
stitution," he declared, "shall be absolutely preserved." 
Among those rights was the right to a public school 
education, for the Constitution distinctly declares that 
while the two races shall be taught in separate schools, 
"there shall be no discrimination in favor of or to the 
prejudice of either race." This right Ay cock was 
determined to maintain, not merely for the benefit of 
the negro, but also because he felt that the safety, 
prosperity and honor of the State were involved in 
doing so. 

His position on this question was stated in April 
1901, in an interview given to the New York Herald, 
in reply to a request for his impressions of the Confer- 
ence for Education in the South at Winston-Salem: 

"There was a full and frank discussion of educational 
problems and interchange of views that can but be 
beneficial. We know more of the Northern view and 
our visitors know more of us. We do not, probably, 
entirely agree, but we respect more than ever the opin- 
ions of each other. If the negro is ever educated it will 
be by the aid of Southern white men. The North can- 
not do it. Philanthropists in the North may think 
they can educate the negro without the help of Southern 
whites, but they are mistaken. . . . We are in 
this State in the midst of an educational revival. We 
favor universal education and intend to accomplish it. 
If our friends in the North, earnest men and women, 
choose to aid us in our work we shall receive their aid 
with gratitude. If they withhold assistance we shall 
nevertheless do the work which lies before us. We 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 131 

need help, but we can do the work unaided, and will 
rather than humiliate ourselves. . . . As to the 
negro we shall do our full duty to him. We are willing 
to receive aid for his education, but without aid we 
shall in the long run teach him. He is with us to stay. 
His destiny and ours are so interwoven that we cannot 
lift ourselves up without at the same time lifting him. 
What we want of the Northern people of right thought 
and upright intention, more than all their money, is a 
frank recognition of this undeniable fact, and we ^^11 
do the rest." 

Aycock's position on this question met with intense 
opposition in the State and subjected him to severe 
personal criticism. Some newspapers became openly 
hostile to his whole educational policy, applied the 
term ''Educational Governor" to him in derision, and 
declared that it would be a blessing to the State if our 
"Educational Governor" should be stricken with 
lockjaw. Hostility to his policy, for a time, threatened 
to extend to him personally. But never for a moment 
did it cause him to swerve an inch from his course. 
When he found that his policy was unpopular in any 
particular community, that was the very community 
in which he desired to speak. Opening an address 
before the Chamber of Commerce in Charlotte, Janu- 
ary 14, 1902, he said: 

"WTien I received the invitation of the Chamber of 
Commerce to dehver an address upon the imperative 
need of public education in this State, I felt very highly 
gratified. There has grown up in this State in certain 
circles an idea that the men of wealth and those en- 
gaged in commerce are opposed to, or at least are not 
enthusiastic upon the subject of, universal education. 



132 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Your invitation denies this suggestion, and I was, 
therefore, much gratified." 

Addressing himself particularly to his position on the 
education of the negro, he said: 

"I am perfectly aware that there are men, good men, 
and many of them, who think that the experiment of 
educating the negro has been a failure. ... I find 
in the State men who think that the negro has gone 
Imckward rather than forward and that education is 
injurious to him. Have these men forgotten that the 
negro was well educated before the war.^ Do they not 
recall that he was trained in those things essential for 
his life work? He has been less educated since the,war 
than before. It is true that he has been sent to school, 
but his contact with the old planter and with the ac- 
complished and elegant wife of that planter has been 
broken. This contact was in itself a better education 
than he can receive from the public schools, but shall 
we, for this reason, say that he is incapable of training.? 
Ought we not, on the contrary, to study the conditions 
and reahze that the training which he needs has not 
been given to him since the war in like manner that 
it was before.'^" 

Hostility to Aycock's educational policy became 
particularly intense in the eastern counties where the 
negroes form a large percentage of the population. 
The following incident, which occurred in Bertie 
County, might have occurred in any of the eastern 
counties. We incorporate it as related by a prominent 
banker of the town of Windsor. 

*'0n April 6, 1903, Governor Aycock came to Wind- 
sor for the twofold purpose of addressing the Odd Fel- 
lows and of making a speech in defence of his adminis- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 133 

tration, especially his policy regarding education. It 
is well remembered that in some sections of the State, 
and this was one of them, Governor Aycock, because 
of his determined stand on this subject, had been 
unfavorably criticised. The people had forgotten his 
promise, made before election, that educational oppor- 
tunities should be increased; or they regarded it differ- 
ently from what they did before the campaign. Their 
temper was far from serene. However, when it was 
advertised that the Governor would be here and speak 
in defence of his policy a great crowd came to hear him. 
The crowd was so large that the courthouse was in- 
sufficient to accommodate it, and the speaking was held 
in open air. It w^as my privilege and pleasure to 
present the speaker. He went at once into the discus- 
sion of his subject, reminded the people of his pre- 
election promise, declared that he had made it in all 
sincerity and candor, and repeated that it was his fixed 
and unalterable purpose to carry it out literally. He 
got hold of the crowd at once and for more than two 
hours held its closest attention. The effect was wonder- 
ful. His perfect honesty and sincerity, his utter lack 
of sham and pretence, won completely, and the opposi- 
tion melted away like dew before the rising sun. I had 
heard him before; I heard him afterward; but never so 
effectively. Everybody went away in love with him 
and in thorough sympathy and accord with his ad- 
ministration. Never from that day have I heard any 
man in Bertie County speak of him but in praise and 
admiration.'* 

Opposition to the education of the negro took the 
form of a demand that the Constitution be amended so 
as to provide for a distribution of school taxes to each 
race on a basis of what each paid. Bills providing for 
the submission of such an amendment to the people 
were introduced in both houses of the Legislature of 



134 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

1901. *'The manifest purpose of this proposed amend- 
ment," writes Hon. H. G. Connor, who was chairman 
of the Committee on Education in the Lower House, 
"was to restrict the opportunity for the negro to become 
educated and qualify himself as a voter. Governor 
Aycock in the most unmistakable terms stated to mem- 
bers of the Legislature that, while he would not at- 
tempt unduly to influence their action, he should regard 
the adoption of such an amendment, or the enactment 
of such legislation, as a violation of his pledge to the 
people and of the plighted faith of his party; and he 
went so far as to declare that in such an event he would 
resign his oJBSce and retire to private life." 

His decided stand, supported by Judge Connor and 
other leaders of the Legislature, prevented the bills 
ever coming to a vote and the matter was settled for a 
time. But it would not down, and during the summer 
of 1902 several county conventions declared in favor 
of such a division of the school taxes. Among these 
was Aycock's own county of Wayne. But Aycock, 
entrenched in what he believed to be the right and just 
position, stood firm. The most powerful passage in 
his message to the Legislature of 1903 is devoted to a 
discussion of this question. But for these instructions 
of the county conventions, he said, he would "make 
no mention of any race question." He called atten- 
tion to the passages on this subject in his Speech of 
Acceptance, in his Inaugural Address, in his campaign 
speeches, and in the platforms of both parties. "It 
appears," said he, "that both parties represented in 
your Honorable Body are pledged to at least a four 
months* school in every school district in the State and 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 135 

this, of course, Includes the negro districts.'* He 
demonstrated that the education of the negro tended 
to decrease crime. He declared: "It must be mani- 
fest that such a provision as this is an injustice to the 
negro and injurious to us. No reason can be given for 
dividing the school fund according to the proportion 
paid by each race which would not equally apply to a 
division of the taxes paid by each race on every other 
subject." Finally, the adoption of such an amendment 
would endanger the Suffrage Amendment. Calling 
attention to a decision of the Federal Court in Ken- 
tucky that such a division of the school fund was un- 
constitutional because it was prohibited by the Four- 
teenth Amendment, he said: 

"It seems to me that this opinion is right, and if it is, 
the proposed amendment would be declared unconsti- 
tutional, and the Suffrage Amendment which we have 
adopted, and which promises so much to the State, 
would undoubtedly follow in its wake. The strength 
of our present amendment lies in the fact that after 1908 
it provides an educational qualification, and the courts 
will go far toward sustaining a provision of this nature 
when ihe State is endeavoring to educate all her chil- 
dren, but if it should be made to appear to the Court 
that in connection with our disfranchisement of the 
negro we had taken pains for providing to keep him in 
ignorance, then both amendments would fall together. 

"The amendment proposed is unjust, unwise and 
unconstitutional. It would wrong both races, would 
bring our State into the condemnation of a just opinion 
elsewhere, and would mark us as a people who have 
turned backward. . . . Let us not seek to be the 
first State in the Union to make the weak man help- 
less. This would be a leadership that would bring us 



136 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

no honor but much shame. . . . Let us be done 
with this question, for while we discuss it the white 
children of the State are growing up in ignorance." 

Aycock's opposition to the measure determined its 
fate. Defeated in 1901 and in 1903, it reappeared in 
1905. But Aycock's appeal to the people's sense of 
right and justice had found a responsive chord; the 
amendment could not muster a corporal's guard in 
1905, and since then has not been considered even so 
much as in the list of debatable questions in North 
Carolina. 

It is too early to estimate the results of Aycock's 
educational policy. We can merely point out a few 
simple facts which speak for themselves. T\Tien Ay- 
cock came in 1904 to review the work of his adminis- 
tration, referring to the requirement of the Constitu- 
tion for a four months' school in every district in the 
State, he was able to say: 

"Too long deferred, to the grievous injury of the 
State, her peace, her prosperity and happiness, we have 
under this administration successfully met this require- 
ment. The patriotic legislatures chosen by the people 
have made provision for it, and the executive officers, 
under the lead of our admirable Superintendent of 
Public Instruction, have carried the provisions of the 
law into effect. To-day we can boast for the first time 
in the history of the State that we have redeemed our 
pledge, kept faith with the people, and made provision 
for all the children. If the child is blind, we have 
teachers ready to open his eyes. If he is deaf, he can 
be taught to speak. If he is friendless and poor, the 
schoolhouse door stands wide open to shed its genial 
warmth upon him." 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 137 

In bringing this chapter to a close we cannot do 
better than to quote a paragraph from the address of 
Mr. E. C. Brooks, President of the North Carolina 
Teachers' Assembly, in presenting for the Assembly 
to the State a portrait of Hon. James Y. Joyner. Re- 
viewing the work of the decade from 1902 to 1912, Mr. 
Brooks said: 

"It is so easy to-day to vote a tax for schools, erect a 
new building, and organize a group of teachers, that the 
younger generation may sometimes fail to appreciate 
what this decade really means, and the part it actually 
plays in our recent rapid development. . . . 
Under ten years of wise leadership, public-school ex- 
penditures have increased nearly threefold. One month 
has been added to the average school term and over 
1,200 school districts levy a special tax for school pur- 
poses. Moreover, the amount raised by local taxation 
alone in these districts is greater than the total amount 
expended in all the rural districts ten years ago. School 
property has increased in valuation nearly threefold. 
City school property alone is to-day double the value 
of the total school property of a decade ago. More 
than 3,000 school buildings have been erected. The 
average salary of teachers has increased more than 50 
per cent, and there are 3,500 more teachers employed 
to-day than ten years ago. . . . Both enrolment 
and average [daily] attendance of pupils show a decided 
gain. Ten years ago . . . less than 500 libraries 
were to be found among the 10,000 schools. To-day 
nearly 3,000 libraries are at the service of the rural 
children and nearly 300,000 volumes are at the com- 
mand of the teachers. . . , The general tax rate 
has been increased from 18 cents to 20 cents, thus 
increasing the school fund at least $350,000. More- 
over the teachers of the State have been recognized as 
a body of professional workers and given representation 



138 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

ou the State Board, in managing the high schools, and 
in selecting books for the pubHc schools." 

The net result of all this work has been that during 
the decade from 1900 to 1910, the percentage of illiter- 
acy among the whites of North Carolina, over ten years 
of age, has been reduced from 19.4 to 12.3; among the 
negroes from 47.6 to 31.9; and among both from 28.7 
to 18.5. Though the States of Georgia, Alabama, 
Arkansas, and Oklahoma show a larger decrease in 
illiteracy among the negroes, no State in the entire 
Union shows so large a decrease in illiteracy among the 
whites as North Carolina. 

But more important than all else is that which these 
statistics hint at, but cannot adequately express — i.e., 
the change — rather let us be exact in our language, 
the revolution in public sentiment toward the great 
problems of universal education. 

This revolution can be traced in no small degree to 
the momentum which Ay cock gave to the cause, not 
only in North Carolina, but throughout the entire 
South. We would lay no claim to all the credit of this 
marvelous work for him, indeed, he himself would 
have been the first to reject the suggestion of the idea. 
Nevertheless, we cannot overlook the fact that during 
the four years in which this momentum was gathering 
force he was the leader of the State which was itself the 
leader of the South. In this work, to quote Mr. 
Brooks again: 

*' Three names must forever be associated together 
and if the State in the long line of coming ages is to 
reap the benefits that surely must come from the 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK ISO 

government of cultivated minds, if talent is constantly 
springing up on our barren hillsides and finding an 
avenue through our schools to the broader theatre of 
life where great affairs are conducted by able men, then 
the works of Joyner, Aycock, and Mclver shall be a 
perpetual blessing upon all subsequent generations," 



CHAPTER IX 

aycock's ideals of citizenship and 
public service 

r^r^HE best phrase Mr. Bryan has given us, 

I and one of the best any American has orig- 

-■^ inated, is that in which he describes a public 

oflficial who uses his office for personal ends as "an 

embezzler of power.*' 

The idea involved is one that cannot be too strongly 
or too persistently emphasized. As a matter of fact, 
a man who uses the privilege either of voting or office- 
holding for personal gain — gain of money or personal 
advancement or what not — is an "embezzler of 
power." The State does not give the right of suffrage 
to a man as a present for him "to have and to hold" as 
he might a piece of ordinary property. On the con- 
trary, the right to vote is a trust and a privilege. The 
ballot is simply the symbol of a power which long genera- 
tions of martyrs and patriots have fought to secure for 
the common man in the belief that he would use it as 
a weapon of the public good. The voter is the inheritor 
of the accumulated political wealth of all past time, 
and he holds this treasure not in fee-simple, but as a 
guardian — for his fellows and for the future. 

And if this is true of the citizen, how much truer is it 
of the public official — he whom all the people have 

140 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 141 

selected as the man of all men to whom they can 
entrust a power and a treasure in which they are all in- 
terested, making him indeed a trustee for the common 
weal. This was Aycock's view of office. He would no 
more have thought of using his power as Governor, a 
power which he had sworn to use only for the pubhc 
good as God gave him to see it — he would no more 
have thought of using this power for personal aggran- 
dizement than he would have thought, had he held the 
position of bank cashier, of taking the funds of the de- 
positors for his own use. Highly significant is this 
incident recorded among others in a number of remin- 
iscences sent us by Col. P. M. Pearsall, Governor 
Aycock's close personal friend, and for four years his 
private secretary: "I never had but one experience 
with Governor Aycock which came near approaching a 
disagreeable one. It was my invariable custom, when he 
was at home, to walk with him from the office to the 
Mansion every afternoon. I recollect one afternoon, 
toward the close of his administration, we were walking 
along together and were discussing the appointment of 
some one (I do not now remember whom) to fill some 
small, unimportant office. I suggested a man, saying 
that he was thoroughly qualified in every respect, that 
the geographical location was a happy one, and added 
besides all that, that the Governor was soon to go out 
of office, and we could not tell what might happen in 
the future, and the appointment would be a good one 
w4th reference to his future. Thereupon, he stopped 
abruptly, caught me sharply by the shoulder, and with 
considerable emphasis and meaning in his voice, told me 
that he was sorry that I had ever had any such a 



142 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

thought; that he demanded that I should never recom- 
mend, suggest, or advise that he should do anything with 
reference to his own future; that he had not been 
prompted by any such motive in anything that he had 
heretofore done, and that he was going to follow this 
policy to the end. I assured him, which was true, 
that that really was the first time I had ever thought 
of his future with reference to any act of his while he 
was Governor." 

The whole character of Aycock, the public ofiicial, 
comes out in this incident. To him grafting is 
grafting — or worse — whether one abuses the sacred 
trust of officeholding in order to get gain directly in the 
shape of money or property or to get gain indirectly by 
buying future support by appointments or building up 
a machine for one*s personal advancement. In July, 
1911, hearing the rumor (which afterward proved to be 
unfounded) that a man he had appointed solicitor was 
angered at Aycock's attitude in a legal proceeding and 
had said that but for the solicitorship appointment he 
would support another Senatorial candidate, Aycock 
wrote him: "I want to say in all sincerity that I do 
not believe, if that is your feeling, that you ought to 
support me. Men owe higher duties to their country 
than they do to personal friendships. I am writing this 
in perfect good feeling and with the sincere desire to free 
you from the slightest embarrassment in the premises." 

It was with deep sincerity that Aycock in his last 
prepared speech referred to his love for North Carolina, 
the State of his birth, "in whose soil my body will rest 
when I have crossed over the river" — as it did before 
the words were printed — and added: 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 14S 

" I have not always served her wisely, but I can look 
the entire body of her people in the face to-night and I 
can declare that I have ever served her zealously and 
with no thought as to the possible effect of my course 
upon my career. I have held her highest office, and 
under God I assert to-night that I never said a word or 
did a deed during the entire four years of my term of 
office with any view to my personal aggrandizement. 
I never sought to build up a personal or factional ma- 
chine and I never endeavored to tie men to me by any 
sense of obligation by reason of favors done by me for 
them, for I did no man any favor as Governor, but I 
earnestly sought to do every man the right of equal 
and exact justice.'* 

Aycock's ideals of public service and political integ- 
rity also came out strikingly in the conduct of his 
candidacy for the United State Senate. In fact, the 
letter in which he announced that he would be a can- 
didate is so characteristic and strikes so high and fine a 
note, that we may not unfittingly introduce it just at 
this Doint : 

Raleigh, N. C, May 20, 1911 
Col. Nathan B. Whitfield, 

Kinston, N. C. 
Dear Sir: I have given much consideration, not 
only to your letter, but to the numerous letters which I 
have received along the same line. I have been greatly 
gratified to find that, without solicitation or expecta- 
tion on my part, and in spite of my previous statement 
that I would not be a candidate for the Senate, great 
numbers of people from all callings in the State have 
urged me, by letter, by message and in person, to re- 
consider the question and become a candidate. One 
who has been in public life and who has enjoyed the 
support and confidence of the people can never free 



144 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

himseK from the obligation of giving due consideration 
to any call which the people make upon him. The 
requests from all parts of the State and from people 
in all stations of life, have been so numerous and im- 
pressive as to lead me to the conclusion that it is my 
duty to say to the people that, if chosen by the Demo- 
cratic party and elected by the Legislature, I shall be 
glad to serve North Carolina in the United States 
Senate. 

It is unnecessary for me to enunciate any personal 
platform, it being well known throughout the State 
that I have always stood on the National and State 
Democratic platforms without question, believing as I 
do that the assembled wisdom of the Democracy of the 
nation and State is far greater than my own. I shall 
make no campaign looking to my selection for the 
Senatorship. My financial condition is such that it is 
absolutely essential that I pursue my profession as a 
lawyer with unabated energy until such time as the 
people shall lay other duties upon me. I have no 
money to spend perfecting an organization, and if I had 
it, I am convinced that the greatest evil of this day, 
politically, is the use of money in securing nominations 
and elections, and I therefore would not use it if I were 
able to command a fund requisite for such purpose. In 
addition to this reason for refusing to attempt an or- 
ganization in behalf of my candidacy, I have a feehng 
that the Senatorship would be worthless to me if secured 
by any such methods. If I shall go to the Senate I 
must go free from special obligation to any set of men, 
and therefore, under equal obligation to every man. 
Going to the Senate in this way would put me in a 
position to give to the people the highest service of 
which I am capable. I shall therefore entrust my 
candidacy, without reservation, to the people of the 
State, and shall not seek to shape their selection by 
organization or by personal appeals to them. 

I cannot under any circumstances enter into a can- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 145 

vass with a view to presenting to North Carolinians 
my own deserts. If I have any, they are known to the 
people of this State, and they know best whether what- 
ever talent I have is likely to be useful to them. When 
the time comes for the opening of the political campaign 
I shall next year, as in all election years heretofore, 
tender my services to the party organization to do 
battle in behalf of Democratic principles. The 
speeches which I shall then make will be made in the 
service of the Democratic party and without regard to 
their possible effect upon my own personal interests. 
If at the end of the campaign, the people select any 
other candidate for the United States Senate, I shall 
cheerfully acquiesce in the result. Public service when 
honestly rendered is the most difficult and painful of 
all service, and the satisfaction to be derived therefrom 
becomes manifest to one only after the service has been 
rendered in fidelity to the trust of the people, and when 
in private fife he can receive the just praise of his fellow- 
citizens for faithfulness to their interests. I have 
served the people of this State once in high office. I have 
enjoyed since then the constant and increasing con- 
fidence of the people of North Carolina in the integrity 
of my purpose when Governor, and the appreciation 
which they have since shown me of the service which I 
was then able to do for the State. It is with a like 
hope that I permit myself to announce to the people 
through you, my candidacy for the United States 
Senate. 

Very truly yours, 

C. B. Ay COCK. 

In the speech he had prepared for delivery April 
12th, (and which is published in another part of this 
volume), he again emphasizes his strong warning as to 
the danger of money in politics; but this was no new 
belief with him. He had always been proud to claim 



146 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

that "the nomination and election to the Governor- 
ship didn't cost me one dollar." Any interference with 
the free expression of the people's will, whether by use 
of money or machinery, Aycock regarded as doing 
violence to the fundamental principle of democracy, 
his faith in which was almost religious in its intensity. 
In a letter to Mr. W. T. Parker, November 20, 1911, he 
said: 

" I am not depending in my campaign upon a pledged 
support, and not even upon an organized support. It 
is strange after all these years of free government, that 
there should be an idea current, and even at times 
overwhelming, that men should select themselves for 
high public station. It is the right of the people to 
make this selection. If they are to be told by a thou- 
sand men in North Carolina for whom they are to vote, 
I am certain that they will not vote for me. I am per- 
fectly candid in saying that I have no desire to go to the 
United States Senate if I have to be sent there by the 
efforts of a few men. At the proper time I expect to 
canvass the State, but in the canvass I shall seek to ex- 
ploit Democracy instead of myself, and I shall certainly 
not seek to injure the other candidates who have hereto- 
fore enjoyed the confidence of the Democracy of the 
State." 

The same day he wrote Mr. Orlando Elam of Shelby, 
as follows: 

"I want to go to the Senate, but I want to go as the 
choice of all the people and not to secure the nomination 
by machinery, organized in my behalf, and to be used 
after my election to dictate to me how I shall serve the 
State. If an organization nominates me, an organiza- 
tion will attempt to run me, and I shall be compelled 
to be unfaithful either to the organization or to the 
people." 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 147 

To Mr. H. G. Connor, Jr., he wrote: 

"Besides you know that if I have to adopt the meth- 
ods which I condemn in order to go to the Senate, I can 
stay at home with entire cheerfulness. If I go to the 
Senate, I am going there with the support of a majority 
of the people and with the good will of the balance of 
them. If I cannot go that way I do not care to go at 
all. The place is one in which it is difficult enough to 
meet the just expectations of the people when one en- 
joys their entire confidence. These are not platitudes; 
they are vital facts, and I am going to live up to them 
in my campaign. My faith in the people is such that I 
am confident of election by pursuing these methods. 
My faith in God is sufficient to keep me from violating 
my convictions if I lose my ambition by it." 

"I regard my candidacy as a duty I owe the State," 
Aycock said to Dr. J. Y. Joyner a short time before his 
death. "\Miether I am defeated or not doesn't matter, 
if I can only establish the principle that a man's can- 
didacy should be conducted without money, machinery, 
or abuse of his opponents." The last political letter 
he ever signed, like the last political speech he ever 
prepared, was one in which he deprecated attacks on 
the other candidates. In July, 1911, he wrote Mr. 
E. B. Grantham: "I regret that the Neivs and Observer 
has had anything to say against my competitors. I do 
not believe that the success of any man for the Senate 
is worth the danger of disintegrating our party into 
personal factions." 

It should also be said that Aycock as a candidate for 
office maintained the same degree of delicacy and moral 
sensitiveness which he had shown as a public official. 
In November, 1911, a committee of distinguished 



148 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Americans, constituting the national organization for 
the promotion of peace, wished to have him speak 
in some of the great cities of the North in behalf of the 
Arbitration Treaties with England and France. At 
first he was inclined to accept the offer, but later wrote 
the friend through whom the invitation came : 

"I should enjoy making these speeches if I thought it 
were proper for me to do so, but I am a candidate for 
the Senate from this State, and I do not think that I 
ought to make speeches which are paid for, even to the 
extent of expenses, on a subject which I might hereafter 
have to act upon as a Senator. I am not laying down 
a rule for any one else, and I do not wish to be regarded 
as a crank or overly squeamish about matters of this 
kind, but this is my instinctive feeling about the matter 
and I feel that I ought to act upon it.'* 

"I shall tell the people in my April 12th speech," he 
said a little while before his death, " that I shall be my 
own campaign manager, because if another man ran 
my campaign for me he would want to run me after the 
campaign was over." 

Ay cock was an intense Democrat in the party sense, 
but he was an even more intense Democrat in its broader 
sense. In fact, he was so ardent a party man chiefly 
because he believed as strongly as Jefferson himself 
in Democracy, the absolute rule of the people, and be- 
lieved the Democratic Party was the party most in 
accord with this doctrine. Introducing William J. 
Bryan, in Raleigh, January 6, 1912, he said: "There 
are some men who have thought that there is a likeness 
between Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Bryan, and there is. 
They are both Progressives, but Mr. Roosevelt's prog- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 149 

ress is toward a benevolent government of the people, 
while Mr. Bryan's progress is toward a beneficent 
government by the people. Mr. Roosevelt wants to 
govern the people well. Mr. Bryan wants the people 
to govern wisely. And these two men are typical of 
the two parties of which each is the most distinguished 
private." 

He expressed the same idea in more popular fashion 
at a Democratic rally in Baltimore as seen in the fol- 
lowing newspaper clipping: 

"The Republicans think we need a ruler; the Demo- 
crats think we need a servant. The people should be 
trusted to govern themselves, and not to be ruled . . 
. . I am afraid of any man who rules. I won't be 
ruled by anybody. (Applause.) I take that back, I 
am married. (Laughter.) But I won't allow any man 
to rule me." (Storms of applause.) 

Nevertheless Aycock was not the man to go up and 
down the State prating about his love for the "dear 
people." His candid spirit also rings out in the con- 
clusion of a letter to his friend and kinsman, George 
Rountree, August 25, 1910 — and we pubhsh the whole 
letter because of the general interest in the subject to 
which it refers — a contest before the State Democratic 
Executive Comittee over a Congressional nomination: 

"You will see from the papers the action of the Com- 
mittee. I should not resist the conclusion that the 
Convention which nominated Clark was not regular, 
and I am much struck wdth the statement contained in 
the draft of our report, which of course you know was 
drawn by Governor Jar vis, which insists that the title 



150 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of the Democratic nominee ought to be so clear as not 
to admit of debate. Certainly the nomination of 
either Clark or Godwin is doubtful. Under these 
circumstances, the only recourse is to the people, the 
source of all power. In these days of demagogy, I 
sometimes feel tempted not to use the expression which 
closed my last sentence, because I do get vexed with 
the constant harping upon 'the people.' But after all, 
it is the fundamental doctrine of our government, and 
one which I have always accepted as true that the 
people ought to govern themselves and not be gov- 
erned." 

Despite his faith in Democracy, Aycock was 
not known to favor the advanced plans for the 
initiative and referendum. He believed direct legis- 
lation was coming, he said; but he did not expect it to 
accomplish all its advocates expected of it. Perhaps 
his distrust grew in part out of his own experience and a 
possible conviction that if the people instead of using 
the slower machinery of representative government, 
had been able to act directly and impulsively with re- 
gard to his educational policy while he was Governor, 
he might never have succeeded in his great task. 

But while Aycock had no patience with demagoguery 
he had, on the other hand, no patience with the idea 
held by some, as he expressed it, that "it is a certain 
mark of statemanship to be at odds with the people"; 
and no sort of aristocracy appealed to him. He al- 
ways opposed a property qualification for voting, and 
in a letter to Mr. John Wilber Jenkins, formerly of 
North Carolina, but now of Baltimore, he opposed the 
Maryland amendment for negro disfranchisement on 
this ground: 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 151 

" I find your letter here upon my return . I would very 
gladly give you the interview because the Amendment 
has been of gceat service in North Carolina, As I 
understand it, your amendment has a property quali- 
fication, to which I am unalterably opposed. I am, 
therefore, debarred from taking any part whatever in 
your fight in Maryland this fall. It may be that the 
amendment which you had up before had this in it, but 
if it did, I was not aware of it. I am among the num- 
ber who still believe that property has too many rights 
and people too few." 

To make a purer democracy, to broaden human op- 
portunity, and to strengthen the rights of the common 
man — this, we are justified in saying, was the duty of 
the leader and the law-maker as Ay cock saw it; but in 
working to this end he would have avoided arraying 
class against class, labor against capital, or resorting to 
the arts of the demagogue. Just before his death a 
friend brought to his attention a quotation from Mr. 
Junius Parker's 1910 alumni address at the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina. Ay cock expressed himself as so 
much pleased w^ith the paragraph that he announced 
his determination to use it in his April 12th speech. 
And just as we may find in the last sentence of his letter 
to Mr. Jenkins — "Property has too many rights and 
people too few " — an indication as to what he re- 
garded as the present duty of the leader in our democ- 
racy, so we may find in this quotation from Mr. Parker's 
speech the spirit in which he believed a leader of the 
people should work. 

"Power of any sort, whether of wealth or intellect 
or education, or social position, or accident, brings 
duty — the duty of truth, the duty of fairness, the 



152 CHARLES B. AYCOCK 

duty of courtesy, the duty of sanity; a duty to the weak 
not to oppress them; a duty to the credulous, not to 
mislead them; a duty to one's friends, not to flatter or 
cajole them; a duty to one's enemies, not to malign 
them; a duty to the rich, not to be a sycophant; a duty 
to the poor, not to be a demagogue." 



CHAPTER X 

AYCOCK THE SOUTHERNER — HIS ATTITUDE 
TOWARD THE NEGRO AND TOWARD SEC- 
TIONAL ISSUES 

THERE are but two Americans who tower head 
and shoulders above all their fellows," Ay cock 
remarked the Sunday before his death, "and 
they are George Washington and Robert E. Lee.'* 
Lee was his ideal man, and he possessed Lee's distin- 
guishing quality — a passionate love of the South com- 
bined with entire freedom from sectional narrowness or 
bitterness. He never fought over the issues of the 
war. He was too much absorbed in practical, helpful 
things. He accepted the Appomattox arbitrament of 
the sword as he accepted the law of gravitation, and 
thought it as useless to fulminate about its righteous- 
ness. He expressed his own view briefly, and let the 
matter drop. As he said in his speech in New York 
City in 1901: "There are two subjects on which I 
take it there can be no debate — that the States had 
the right to secede in 1861, and that they no longer have 
that right." 

Two of Aycock's brothers were Confederate soldiers; 
his father in the State Senate was one of the stanchest 
defenders of the Confederate Government; and it was 
not without reason that Dr. R. T. Vann in the memorial 

153 



154 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

services in Raleigh referred eloquently to Aycock's 
love for the aged heroes "who once wore the gray of 
their country, and now wear the gray of God." Only a 
day or so later a poorly clad workingman from Golds- 
boro came into the writer's office, told of Aycock's 
kindness to the very poor people of Goldsboro, and 
added, "And as for the old Confederate soldiers, he 
just couldn't do enough for them!" How fervidly in- 
deed did Ay cock cherish the traditions of the South was 
illustrated by a passage in a jury speech delivered but 
a few months before his death, where he illustrated 
some points with a reference to the Civil War: 

"Gentlemen you know the bitterness of this great 
conflict through which we passed. You know how 
these North Carolina people stood here at home and 
clamored for the preservation of the Union, and when 
the hot-heads wanted to secede they stood off and said 
*No, we are not going to secede,' and voted down the 
convention. You know, too, when one clear morning 
there came ringing down from the North a message 
from Lincoln in which he called for volunteers to fight 
South Carolina, then you saw a whole people just turn 
over and say: *We don't want war. We love this 
Union. It is ours. Our fathers made it. They cemented 
every brick of the foundation with their own blood. 
We love it and we want to maintain it, but if we have 
got to fight we are not going to fight South Carolinians, 
and Georgians, and Mississippians, and Virginians. We 
are neighbors. If we have got to fight we will fight 
some folks we don't know.' Then we seceded and 
went out. Then followed those four years. They 
were four strenuous years; years that tried men's souls. 

"I am getting old now, sirs, but I wish I were older. 
It has been the deprivation of my life that I haven't 
within my heart and memory a recollection of those 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 155 

great days which glorified humanity and made the 
South immortal." 

He followed this utterance with a tribute to the mag- 
nanimity and gentleness of Lee: 

*'And when it was all done and our great General 
surrendered his sword at Appomattox and went ])ack 
quietly to his home under parole from that gallant 
soldier, General Grant — God keep his memory green 
forever for his nobility of conduct on this occasion — 
Lee opened a college and called the boys together, 
and I am told by men who went to school to him 
that in his mouth there was never one word about 
the war, and that no man ever heard him utter one 
single word of reproach to the Yankee. Because of 
Lee's freedom from bitterness," Ay cock continued, " he 
has won the esteem of all men, so that the North itself 
votes him into the Hall of Fame, and 'Dixie' has 
become the song not of a section, but of the nation." 

In his New York speech, to which reference has al- 
ready been made, Aycock gave eloquent utterance to 
the faith that was in him: 

"I love the Union and its flag. This country is my 
country. I am a North Carolinian and you dwell in 
New York, but we are all citizens of the United States 
— a glorious country, a great flag, the emblem of all 
that we are and hope to be, our protection in war, our 
guardian in peace, our hope at all times — but neither 
you nor others will expect of me to forget the deeds of 
those who served the South. We shall make no apolo- 
gies for what has passed in our lives and no promises 
for the future. We love the heroic deeds of those who 
have gone before us and who have demonstrated the 
strength of Southern character. We cannot forget, 



156 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

and will not, their sufferings, their trials and their 
fidelity. We do not stop to ask whether they were 
right or wrong. We merely inquire how did they bear 
themselves when the hour of peril came, and when we 
make this inquiry we are proud of the glorious men who 
made the charge at Gettysburg and laid down their 
arms at Appomattox." 

The death of Worth Bagley, as emblematic of the 
reunion of the sections and the patriotism of the South, 
was mentioned by Ay cock in this speech and frequently 
in other speeches. The following almost verbatim 
quotation, from his speech at the State Fair in 1902 
(from notes made by the writer during its delivery), is 
pertinent here: 

"And with our educational advance will come a twen- 
ty-fold industrial development. Nor will the deeds of 
our fathers be forgotten in that glorious day. From 
some lowly home and of humble parentage will come 
some divinely gifted man or woman to take up the histo- 
rian's pen or artist's brush or sculptor's chisel, and reveal 
the history of our Commonwealth. Rich material will 
he find in the planting of the first English colony on 
Roanoke; the birth of Virginia Dare, the first Anglo- 
American; the expulsion of Seth Sothel, the first 
American uprising against a tyrannical Governor; the 
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, precursor of 
that at Philadelphia; the battle of Moore's Creek, the 
first victory of the Revolution; King's Mountain and 
Guilford, terrible blows to British power. And richer 
material will he find in the sorrowful withdrawal from 
the Union; in the death of Wyatt, the first martyr of the 
Lost Cause; in the immortal charge at Gettysburg; the 
last stand at Appomattox, the return of the defeated 
soldier to bring order out of the chaos and ruin envelop- 
ing his home. And by the side of the soldier, he will 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 157 

paint the soldier's equal — the plain North Carolina 
woman, God bless her! who had no comrades to cheer 
her and no martial airs to inspire her, but who fed and 
clothed the North Carolina soldiers and struggled 
alone against want and terror. There is none like her! 
No less significant will be the picture symbolic of our 
reunited country — that gallant North Carolina youth 
who fell beneath the Stars and Stripes in the war with 
Spain. He shall be painted, not as he was, but with 
the sternness of the Puritan and the gayety of the Cava- 
lier, and in colors of gray fading into blue. For North 
and South, thank God, are together again in one Union, 
and it is for us to make our own State the greatest of 
the sisterhood." . 



That was Aycock*s attitude. He loved the Union, 
was proud of the Union, but he regarded the South's 
record in the Civil War not as something to apologize 
for, nor yet as something to ignore or forget, nor yet 
as something the South alone should treasure and be 
proud of — but something the entire reunited nation 
should be proud of, even as it is already proud of the 
incarnation of the cause in the immortal Lee. Per- 
haps never in his life did Aycock appear to better ad- 
vantage than in his speech welcoming President Roose- 
velt at the Charleston Exposition in 1902, his address 
and the strikingly dramatic circumstances under which 
it was delivered being fully recorded in the second part 
of this volume. South Carolina never forgot that 
speech, and the whole State loved Aycock ever after. 
The courage and manly dignity of the address cap- 
tivated Northerners and Southerners alike, including 
the impulsive Roosevelt, who began his own speech by 
saying: "There is but one complaint I have to make 



158 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

against the Governor of North Carolina, and that is, 
he said in his speech so many good things that I wanted 
to say — and they were so well said that I cannot im- 
prove upon them, but I am just going to say them over 
again anyway." 

It is not eulogy, but truth, to say that Aycock never 
sought to arouse the prejudices of his hearers; and this 
was true of him with regard to sectional feeling. He 
never sought to make merchandise of Southern pa- 
triotism; and he expressed himself with the same dig- 
nity and sincerity whether he was in the North or the 
South. If anything, he talked a little more freely in 
the North. He once told this story of his trip through 
Maine in 1904: 

"Among the first appointments I had," said he, "was 
in a small town on the coast of Maine. The rain was 
coming down in cold, clammy sheets, not figuratively, 
but literally; I was blue, homesick, a stranger in a 
strange land, and about as cast down as a fellow can 
get. The meeting was held in a church, and when 
we arrived, a few scattering friends had assembled and 
deposited their dripping umbrellas in the entrance. A 
good brother soon opened the meeting with prayer and 
then read from Ecclesiastes : * All is vanity, saith the 
preacher.' It just seemed to me that he was trying to 
see how bad he could make me feel. But when I arose 
to speak, I commenced by saying: 'Well, if I were 
back in Wayne County, No'th Ca'lina, I'd expect the 
congregation to be doing just like you are doing here — 
everybody settin' on the back seats.' Whereupon the 
people moved up to the front, but I was feeling so 
low-spirited that I commenced to talk about the 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 159 

hardships we had to undergo after the war, and while 
I was telling about our worn, footsore and bleeding 
soldiers wending their way, as best they could, to their 
desolate homes, I noticed an old Yankee veteran just in 
front of me take out his handkerchief, blow his nose 
with a terrible snort and wipe his eyes at the same time. 
Then I knew^ I had 'em — and from then on, I forgot 
all about education and talked Reconstruction days 
to this audience up in Maine — one of the most appre- 
ciative audiences I ever addressed." 

Aycock's attitude toward the negro, and the negro 
question, has already been indicated by the chapters on 
his 1898 and 1900 campaigns and his administration as 
Governor, and is further set forth in his speeches pub- 
lished in this volume. The negroes of North Carolina 
revere Lincoln, but it did not require as much courage 
or sacrifice for Lincoln to issue his Emancipation Proc- 
lamation as it did for Aycock to stand for the educa- 
tional rights of the negro during his administration as 
Governor. 

His object was simply the attainment of justice. 
The hideous injustice to the white race involved in the 
negro's political power was a thing against which his 
whole nature revolted; but a threatened injustice to the 
negro in the proposition to take away the educational 
rights of the now disarmed and helpless black man — 
this stirred him just as deeply. He knew, moreover, 
that no one is ever really profited by a violation of jus- 
tice, and that the justice of taking the ballot from the 
negro was a good thing for the black man, and the 
justice of giving an adequate education to the negro a 
good thing for the white man. 



160 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Aycock believed in the right of the white man to 
rule as profoundly as he believed in God. He knew 
that the instinct of race is divinely implanted; and he 
could not understand those "advanced Southerners" 
who professed to believe that the South's intense race 
feeling was engendered in large measure by politicians. 
Of one such writer he said: "He breathes the atmos- 
phere of the cloister. He does not know men. Even in 
history, his specialty, they are dim forms playing on an 
ideal stage and not men of blood and passions. He 
does not understand his people. He sees in the race 
antagonism nothing but political passion. He has not 
read aright the great unconquerable race instinct. 
Politics did not make it, politics merely seized it for its 
purpose. I am bound to admit my surprise at his 
real ignorance of the depth, the strength, and the right- 
eousness of the white man's attitude toward the negro. 
Probably if he would read King Edward's speech to 
Parliament he would not regard his own folks so lightly 
and hold their views in such contempt. In substance 
King Edward says in reference to South Africa, ' My 
policy toward South Africa shall be one of equality for 
whites and justice to the blacks.' A superior race can 
occupy no other attitude." 

From this letter we may crystallize Aycock's two 
fundamental doctrines regarding the political relations 
of the races: (1) The white man must rule. (2) 
He must rule in righteousness. The second proposition 
he regarded as being as binding as the first. He never 
forgot the principle of noblesse oblige; never violated 
that fine definition of a gentleman: "The weaker 
the man with whom he has to deal the more scru- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 161 

pulous is his justice; the weaker the woman with 
whom he has to deal the more scrupulous is his honor." 
The principle he laid down in his Inaugural Address, 
**It is true that a superior race cannot submit to the 
rule of a weaker without injury; it is also true in the 
long years of God that the strong cannot oppress the 
weak without destruction," was but the same to which 
he had given eloquent utterance in his Speech of Ac- 
ceptance while the fires of race passion burned fiercest: 

" If we fail to administer equal and exact justice to 
the negro w^hom we deprive of suffrage, we shall in 
the fulness of time lose power ourselves, for we must 
know that the God, who is love, trusts no people with 
authority for the purpose of enabling them to do 
injustice to the weak. We do well to rejoice in our 
strength and to take delight in our power, but we 
will do better still when we come fully to know that 
our right to rule has been transmitted to us by our 
fathers through centuries of toil and sacrifice, suffer- 
ing and death, and their work through all these cen- 
turies has been a striving to execute judgment in 
righteousness. That must likewise be our aim, that 
our labor." 

On no other occasion perhaps did Aycock state 
his complete conviction regarding the negro problem 
with more clearness or conciseness than in his speech 
before the North Carolina Society in Baltimore, Decem- 
ber 18, 1903, and we cannot better close this chapter than 
by letting him speak his sentiments in his own words. 
After recounting evidences of recent progress in North 
Carolina he said: 

"These are some of the reasons for my being proud of 
North Carolina. I am proud of my State, moreover, 



162 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

because there we have solved the negro problem which 
recently seems to have given you some trouble. We 
have taken him out of politics and have thereby se- 
cured good government under any party and laid foun- 
dations for the future development of both races. We 
have secured peace, and rendered prosperity a cer- 
tainty. 

"I am inclined to give to you our solution of this 
problem. It is, first, as far as possible under the Fif- 
teenth Amendment to disfranchise him; after that let 
him alone, quit writing about him; quit talking about 
him, quit making him 'the white man's burden,' let 
him 'tote his own skillet'; quit coddling him, let him 
learn that no man, no race, ever got anything worth the 
having that he did not himself earn; that character is 
the outcome of sacrifice and worth is the result of toil; 
that whatever his future may be, the present has in it 
for him nothing that is not the product of industry, 
thrift, obedience to law, and uprightness; that he can- 
not, by resolution of council or league, accomplish 
anything; that he can do much by work; that violence 
may gratify his passions but it cannot accomplish his 
ambitions; that he may eat rarely of the cooking of 
equality, but he will always find when he does that 
* there is death in the pot.' Let the negro learn once 
for all that there is unending separation of the races, 
that the two peoples may develop side by side to the 
fullest but that they cannot intermingle; let the white 
man determine that no man shall by act or thought or 
speech cross this line, and the race problem will be at 
an end. 

"These things are not said in enmity to the negro but 
in regard for him. He constitutes one third of the 
population of my State: he has always been my per- 
sonal friend; as a lawyer I have often defended him, 
and as Governor I have frequently protected him. 
But there flows in my veins the blood of the dominant 
race; that race that has conquered the earth and seeks 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 163 

out the mysteries of the heights and depths. If mani- 
fest destiny leads to the seizure of Panama, it is certain 
that it likewise leads to the dominance of the Caucasian. 
When the negro recognizes this fact we shall have peace 
and good will between the races. 

" But I would not have the white people forget their 
duty to the negro. We must seek the truth and pur- 
sue it. We owe an obligation to 'the man in black'; we 
brought him here; he served us well; he is patient and 
teachable. We owe him gratitude; above all we owe 
him justice. We cannot forget his fidelity and we 
ought not to magnify his faults; we cannot change his 
color, neither can we ignore his service. No individual 
ever ' rose on stepping stones of dead' others ' to higher 
things,' and no people can. We must rise by ourselves, 
e must execute judgment in righteousness; we must 
educate not only ourselves but see to it that the negro 
has an opportunity for education. 

" As a white man I am afraid of but one thing for my 
race and that is that we shall become afraid to give the 
negro a fair chance. The first duty of every man is to 
develop himself to the uttermost and the only limita- 
tion upon his duty is that he shall take pains to see that 
in his own development he does no injustice to those 
beneath him. This is true of races as well as of in- 
dividuals. Considered properly it is not a limitation 
but a condition of development. The white man in 
the South can never attain to his fullest growth until he 
does absolute justice to the negro race. If he is doing 
that now, it is well for him. If he is not doing it, he 
must seek to know the ways of truth and pursue them. 
My own opinion is, that so far we have done well, and 
that the future holds no menace for us if we do the duty 
which lies next to us, training, developing the coming 
generation, so that the problems which seem diflScult 
to us shall be easy to them." 



CHAPTER XI 

AYCOCK THE MAN: HIS RELATIONS TO HIS 
FRIENDS AND HIS FELLOWS 

AYCOCK had a great capacity for friendship. 
/-%L The stories one hears of him remind one of the 
■^ -"^ stories long current about Henry Clay. For 
example, one of the best known public men in the State 
said recently: "When Ay cock came to Raleigh I de- 
termined not to like him, but in a week's time he could 
do anything he pleased with me." Says Mr. M. L. 
Shipman: ''Thirty minutes* contact with him was 
enough; ever after that you were his friend." The char- 
acter of the man drew others to him; he had in an un- 
usual degree that valuable asset for a public man — a 
rarely accurate memory for names and faces; and he 
had a winning graciousness which was the result not of 
design or a desire to court favor, but the simple utter- 
ance of a nature overflowing with kindliness and good- 
will. His manner of dealing with a drunken man in 
Craven County is a good illustration of his tact. Mr. 
H. B. Hardy tells the story: "While Ay cock was 
speaking, some very ardent Republican, made still more 
ardent by imbibing corn juice, kept interrupting him, 
and was inclined to make a scene; whereupon some of 
the crowd tried to keep the man quiet. The Governor 
stopped in the midst of his speech and said : ' Let him 

164 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 165 

alone; he ain't bothering me. He is a good fellow and 
will be all right just as soon as he gets clear of some of 
that radicalism, and I'll bet a dollar he will vote the 
Democratic ticket in November.' " If the man didn't 
*' go Democratic " when election time came it is cer- 
tainly not for lack of tact on Aycock's part ! 

He not only had a warm welcome for all friends, no 
matter hov/ humble, but an apt, and distinctive wel- 
come as well. At the reception after his inauguration, 
a little German Jew from Goldsboro, Barna Finklestein 
by name, fell into line, feeling no doubt very friendless 
and uncomfortable among the handsomely gowned 
ladies, and the pomp and circumstance of the social 
leaders in evening clothes and the new fledged colonels 
resplendent with gold lace. But if Finklestein had 
been a Senator, Aycock would not have received him 
more warmly: "Wie geht's, Herr Finklestein!" he 
exclaimed, and then — his German giving out as he 
turned to Mrs. Aycock — *'Dass ist mein frau!" An 
illustration both of Aycock's keen appreciation of friend- 
ship and his homely manner of expressing this apprecia- 
tion is found in the following letter he sent Mr. Archi- 
bald Johnson a week before his death: 

" I have received no letter from any one which is more 
gratifying to me than yours of the 27th. 'WTien I get 
down in the mouth and feel blue, and as an ancient 
friend of mine once said, * old and snaggled toothed and 
not no account,' then I reflect that you are my friend, 
and straightway I feel worth while. This is the honest 
truth, and I want you to know it." 

And as Mr. Shipman said, once Aycock's friend you 
were his friend ever after. As an humble acquaintance 



166 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

expressed it : *' There was nc lulling of the big I and littlo 
you about him." He did not know how to be conde- 
scending. Equally removed from snobbishness and 
flattery, he met everybody on equal terms. "One of 
the first things he did after the inauguration,'* said Col. 
P. M. Pearsall, his private secretary, "was to detach 
the call-bell from his desk to my desk; whenever he 
wanted me he would ring for Joe, the negro servant, 
and call me." This further comment of Colonel Pear- 
sail's is worth recording here: 

"It was very delightful to see Governor Ay cock with 
his personal friends. The atmosphere was one of inti- 
macy, freedom, and congeniality that was very refresh- 
ing. He had a great many friends, but of course some 
were more intimate with him than others. Among the 
State officers who were with him, who are now dead, I 
cannot refrain from mentioning Doctor Dixon, the 
State Auditor, and Mr. S. L. Patterson, Commissioner 
of Agriculture. These gentlemen loved one another as 
brothers do. Good men, they were moved by a high 
and exalted purpose for the uplift of the people, and 
thoroughly unselfish. Indeed, Governor Aycock was 
never especially intimate with a person who was not an 
unselfish man." 

Judge Oliver Allen tells of going with Aycock to a 
Pender County farm to see a plain old man whom Ay- 
cock had heard was in bad health. Says Judge Allen: 
" It was a delightful time to all of us. We talked about 
everything, walked over the farm during the day and 
admired the growing crops, smoking at intervals, and 
sat up until late bed time. He and Aycock loved each 
other; theirs were kindred spirits. It was the case 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 167 

of a great educated man and a great uneducated man 
communing together on equal ground and each one 
strengthening the other." 

His kindness to children knew no limits and their 
response to him was always immediate, because he 
himself had the generous, uncalculating heart of the 
child. It is said that Fenimore Cooper, who wrote 
such delightful stories for boys, personally had no 
patience with the restless, mischievous youngsters his 
works have delighted; and many others have done 
much for childhood without really loving children. 
But this was not the case with Aycock. Mr. Hardy 
tells of an incident at Trenton when the marshals were 
trying to pull away some small boys who had crowded 
around the speaker's stand. "Just let the little fellows 
alone," said Governor Aycock, "can't you see that the 
last one of them are growing Democrats and interested 
in what I am saying.?" Again, on returning with a 
party from a commencement address at Buie's Creek 
Academy he quit talking to the grown men and entered 
into the sports (as well as into the hearts) of some chil- 
dren by showing them how to blow leaves between his 
two thumbs. Speaking at Elon College in 1909, Sena- 
tor F. M. Simmons said: 



"Wallving with Governor Aycock one day on the 
streets of New Bern, a little girl whom neither of us 
knew, poorly clad, approached us and looking up into 
his face asked if he would not tell her — and then asked 
something I have forgotten what; it was some simple 
matter or information connected with her errand. His 
face beamed with a kindly smile as bending over the 
little tot with the solicitude of a father, he said with a 



168 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

simple kindliness I shall never forget: * Yes, little miss, 
I will do anything for you.' For some time afterward 
we walked in silence, his tenderness making the incident 
too sacred for words, but I knew then as I had not 
known before that it was a power mightier than his 
brilliant intellect that had fired the people of North 
Carolina with a determination to be free from the slav- 
ish bonds of ignorance." 

In his attitude toward women,' Governor Ay cock ex- 
emplified all the finest traditions of the South. The 
sentiment he felt was expressed not in flowery speeches 
or in a manner of stately courtliness nor in any form of 
spectacular grace or gallantry, but in a certain lofty 
and tender regard for all the sex. "Faith in woman- 
kind beat with his blood." Says his law partner, ex- 
Judge Robert W. Winston: "His respect for woman- 
kind almost passed into the domain of adoration. So 
great was his respect for a good woman that he almost 
regarded her as incapable of doing wrong." 

"All women are natural aristocrats," Ay cock said 
on one occasion, "and all men are natural democrats, 
and it is well it is so. The women ought to require 
and expect certain fine standards of manner and con- 
duct, ought to insist on the beauties, graces, and cour- 
tesies that distinguish an aristocracy; while the men 
in their workaday world must give the necessary bal- 
ance to human society by measuring men by the 
rougher democratic standard." 

We have already referred to Aycock's relations to 
his political opponents. To them he was always fair, 
never striking below the belt, or taking a mean 
advantage. The three men oftenest pitted against him 



OF CHAELES B. AYCOCK 169 

in party combat were ex-Senator Marion Butler, Judge 
Jeter C. Pritchard, and the brilliant and resourceful 
Dr. Cyrus Thompson. The tributes these men have 
paid his character are perhaps more effective than any 
others could possibly be. We have already quoted 
part of Judge Pr it chard's estimate. " When fighting 
Aycock, I learned to love him," said Dr. Cyrus Thomp- 
son a short time before Ay cock's death. Writing in his 
paper, The Caucasian, the week after Aycock's death, 
ex-Senator Butler paid him this tribute: 

"He was a man of big brain and big heart. His 
impulses were all generous and noble. He was incap- 
able of doing a small or a mean act. He was a man of 
pronounced convictions and possessed a manly courage 
that did not waver under adverse and trying conditions. 
He was the high type of a man who could meet a strong 
opponent in the fiercest kind of a contest, and yet com- 
mand the respect of his opponent more at the end than 
at the beginning. It was safe to say that Mr. Aycock 
had more personal admirers and friends than any other 
man in North Carolina, and these friends w^ere not 
limited to the members of his own political party. No 
man since Vance, was so beloved or will be so greatly 
missed." 

Even the colored people, though he led the fight for 
their disfranchisement, recognized the integrity of Ay- 
cock's motives and the real friendliness he felt for 
them. A considerable number of them from Goldsboro 
wished to attend his funera. in a body, and would have 
done so but for the very limited capacity of the church 
from which the funeral was held. "Great numbers of 
negroes heard him speak in 1898," says Dr. J. D. Huf- 
ham, "but he spoke for a great principle and without 



170 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

bitterness and never said anything to anger or wound 
the blacks who Hstened to his eloquent appeals for 
white supremacy." The following letter found among 
Governor Aycock's papers after his death is both inter- 
esting and significant: 

Henderson, N. C, Feb. 29, 1912. 
Dear Boss: 

I am writing to tell you that I show am for you and if 
you do not get ellected it will be because the most folks 
have got less sense than me. I have been on the Staff 
of several Governors but am for you all the time and if 
I dont vote for you it will be because they will not let 
me vote for anybody. I don't want to vote for any- 
body else for anythin' no how. Your servant and re- 
spectful nigger, 

James Gill, the Barber." 

The poor and the unfortunate never had a better 
friend than Governor Aycock — unless one might 
think that he would have been a better friend to some 
of them if he had been less generous. "So long as he 
had $50 in the bank," as one of those nearest him said, 
" no one who was hard up, or wanted a contribution for 
a church, or needed help to get out of jail, was likely to 
appeal to him in vain." It is fortunate that life in- 
surance was invented before his time for otherwise it 
would have been difficult, with his generosity, for him 
to make adequate provision for his family after his 
death. A kinsman recalls his saying when a young 
man, " If I ever get to be worth over $2500, 1 should like 
to give the rest away to the poor"; and he came very 
near carrying out his early program. Says Judge Win- 
ston: "Governor Aycock's heart was so big he was 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 171 

unable to resist any appeal for help. His stenographer 
and law partner had to form a sort of bodyguard to 
keep those who had found out his weakness out of his 
office. He was known time and time again to empty 
his pocket to some stray beggar who had drifted in. 
He was ever courteous and kind to every visitor, man, 
woman or child. When a book agent managed to get 
past the 'bodyguard,' he nearly always came out with 
an order, and the Governor would laugh and say, ' Well, 
the fellow has to have a living and he's trying to get it 
honestly.' His office in Raleigh was a veritable resort 
for the under dog in the fight — the fellow who had 
lost out in the battle of life — the old Confederate 
soldier with his crutch under his arm, and a leg buried in 
Virginia. Any old fellow who was *down and out' 
naturally gravitated to 'the Governor's' office. After 
he had given him twenty or thirty minutes of valuable 
time listening to his tale of woe, and after he had re- 
freshed him with the bestowal of a dollar or more, he 
would meander across the hall into his partner's office 
and remark, half seriously and half jokingly, 'Somehow 
those old fellows seem to find me out.' " 

Aycock did not give money, however, merely because 
of being unable to resist a personal appeal for help. 
He gave because he found a keen delight in giving, a 
sheer joy in aiding others, and he would go out of his 
way to give money to a worthy object, even if no ap- 
peal was made directly to him in its behalf. Rev. 
Livingston Johnson has mentioned a case in point: 
"Some years ago one of our most consecrated ministers 
wrote an article for his denominational paper, telling 
how he had lived on a small salary, and had reared and 



172 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

educated a large family of children. The preacher was 
not complaining of his hard lot, but was simply showing 
what could be done by economical management. In 
a few days after the article appeared he received a letter 
from Governor Aycock containing a check for ten dol- 
lars, with the words, ' I read your article and it is worth 
this much to me.'" 

It would be a mistake to assume from what has been 
said, however, that Aycock would let an outright fraud 
impose upon him or that he would let an admittedly 
bad man trifle with him. For human frailty or weak- 
ness he had the greatest sympathy, but not for mean- 
ness; and if convinced that a man was deliberately 
trying to take advantage of his good nature and gener- 
osity, the Aycock nature lost little time in shifting its 
emphasis from mercy to a very rigid type of Calvinistic 
justice. A letter which he wrote to a client of this 
character January 27, 1910, found him in the latter 
mood : 

"Yours to hand. I have definitely fixed my fee. 
You promised to pay me $250. Because I did not have 
to try the case I voluntarily cut the fee down to $125. 
I shall not cut it any further. There is no doubt that 
the case was settled because George Hood and I were 
retained in it. You never would have got it settled 
otherwise. We did you more service than we could 
have done by a trial. But these are things that folks 
are constantly overlooking. If I had insisted on the 
day you employed me, on your giving me your note for 
$250 you would not have hesitated a moment in doing 
so; but as the work is accomplished and the results 
attained, you are going to pay me half that amount 
and then be mad with me. Send me your note as 
drawn by me. Of course, the others ought to help you. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 173 

but I do not look to them myself. All that I want is 
your note, and I expect this by return mail. I do not 
care what Mr. Hood charged you, or what anybody 
charged you. I do not base my fees on what other 
people charge. I do not estimate my own services by 
the estimate which other men put upon theirs. That is 
their business, and this is mine.'* 

During his administration as Governor he was vigor- 
ously criticised for his alleged abuse of the pardoning 
power, and there is little doubt but that his sympathy 
for the unfortunate did cause him to free some un- 
worthy criminals, but Ay cock never regretted or apolo- 
gized for this course. On the contrary, he was proud 
of it. Says his law partner : *' On one occasion a prom- 
inent candidate for Governor criticised Aycock for 
pardoning people and said that the law must be upheld 
at all hazards, and that too many pardons were granted, 
and that when he was elected Governor he was going to 
run the pardon department according to the rules of 
business. When this was repeated to Aycock he said: 
*'Yes, and he will never get to be Governor. No man 
will be Governor of North Carolina or is worthy to be 
Governor, unless he has a heart big enough to suffer 
with all the people." While Aycock was much criti- 
cised for exercising the pardoning power, he himself 
felt actual pride in what he had done for the unfortu- 
nate criminals of the State. He was heard to say only 
a few weeks before his death that he had never had oc- 
casion to regret a single pardon he granted. As 
Christmas would come around each year, there were 
several old convicts he had pardoned who would write 
him touching letters of thanks and gratitude calUng 



174 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

his attention to what he had done for them. There is 
in North CaroHna one old convict who never failed on 
Thanksgiving Day to write and tell him that he was 
living a clean life and serving God and man as best he 
could. Governor Ay cock always found time to answer 
that letter and admonish him to continue in his walk of 
right living. The Governor's friend, Josephus Daniels, 
once criticised him editorially in the News and Observer 
for pardoning so many criminals, and when the editorial 
was called to the Governor's attention, he smiled and 
said: "What Joe says about my pardoning folks 
doesn't worry me a bit. The thing that keeps me 
awake at night is the thought of those I haven't par- 
doned. " 

It happens that after the foregoing statement was 
given us by Judge Winston, the convict to whom he 
refers as writing each Thanksgiving sent us the following 
letter with the request that it appear in this biography. 
It is an intensely interesting human document, and 
we have thought it well to reprint it verbatim et lit- 
eratirriy omitting only the writer's name and address : 

The kindness and pardon of C. B. Aycock to A 
Prisoner: 

I was givin a term of 15 months on county road at 
greensboro N. C, Guilford county, Aug. 18, 1902. 

My crime was fiting with nife. I was assalted by a 
large man and a bad one full of liquar and was nocked 
down before I done anything to him. I had bin nocked 
down twice my only hope was to use a nife. I have 
never had any disire to hert any man, I love peas. 

I had a paper from a doctor stating I had kidney 
trouble and was not able to hard labor but it done me 
no good. I had to go to the road and work as best I 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 175 

could, then in the hands of men of no mercy, my wife 
at home by herself. We have no children she would 
bring me something to eat ever Sunday. The Fair 
was verry comon at the camp. I am verry sorry for 
any man that hast to go where he has to work hard and 
get half enuff to eat. it is too bad. I done the best I 
could for 6 months it seemed like 6 years to me. my 
friends advised me to try for a parden so I rote to Mr 
Aycock in regard to the matter, he answered me at 
once with great sympathy telling me what I must do 
before he could help me. 

My wife was my best friend as all women should be. 
she got a lot of good men in High Point to sign a pardon 
for me to whitch I thank them to-day. then she gets 
Solicitar Brooks at Greensboro to sign it, then with the 
nearve and love of a good woman she gets on the train 
and goes to Raleigh no one with her to help shair her 
troubles. She finds my dear friend Mr Aycock in his 
office he met her with a smile as I hope he met our 
Savior, with trimbling hand and a sad heart she told 
him her business. Dier Reader you can easy immaggin 
how she felt while he was looking over the pappers she 
gav him allmost my life was in his hands. I was not 
able to do the hard work that was required of me. 
When the dear man had looked them over he saw tears 
coming down the cheaks of my faithful wife. He sed 
to her. " Don't cry for joy, I ^v^U pardon him." Then 
gladness came to her hart, she thanked him as best 
she could and bade him farewell for the last time on 
earth, hoping to meet where there is no tears and sor- 
rows. 

She come to me as the dove to the ark to gladden my 
heart. I was soon at my home for the first time in 6 
months. Ever since I have ritten to Mr Aycock at 
thanksgiving thanking him as best I could for his great 
kindness to me, sometimes he would answer my letters, 
the last on was Dec. 19, 1911. 

Reads as follows, 



176 CHARLES B. AYCOCK 

Mr , N. C. 

DiER Sir:- 

I am always greatful to you for your kind thanskgiv- 
ing letters, they give me very great pleasure because 
they give me assurance that I made no mistake in the 
course whitch I pursued. I wish for you a long life of 
service and much happiness. 

With the greetings of the season, I am, with best 
wishes, 

Verry sincerely your friend, 
C. B. Ay cock. 

he cannot rite to me any more But I love him and 
his grave. I never saw his face But I still hope to 
see him in heaven 

(Signed) 



CHAPTER XII 

INTIMATE GLIMPSES OF AYCOCK: PERSONAL TRAITS, 
TASTES AND CHARACTERISTICS 

THE striking lines in which Rudyard KipHng 
describes his brother, Wolcott Balestier, in his 
*' Dedication to the Barrack Room Ballads," 
come to mind as a singularly appropriate characteriza- 
tion of Governor Ay cock: 

"E'en as he trod that day to God, so walked he from his birth 

In simpleness and gentleness and honor and clean mirth 

Who had done his work and held his peace and had no fear to die." 

"Simplicity, gentleness, honor and clean mirth" — • 
these were indeed his characteristics from the beginning. 
Of the first three qualities we have already written, but 
the fourth term suggests a trait no less marked in him. 
In his tribute to Lee, published elsewhere in this 
volume, he mentions it as one of the chief virtues of 
the great Confederate chieftain that he never told a 
story that would have brought a blush to a woman's 
cheek. The same thing was true of Aycock, although 
he had a perpetual flow of quaint humor, and a rare 
faculty of "mixing" with any kind of crowd, as Lee had 
not. What a schoolmate writes of Aycock as a boy was 
also true of him as a man, "He was always full of fun 
and naturally witty and fond of jokes, but never in- 

177 



178 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

dulged in anything of a vulgar nature*'; and a Uni- 
versity roommate, Mr. J. R. Rodwell, says, ''I never 
knew him to do or say anything as a college boy that 
he would have been ashamed to tell his mother." 
Ay cock not only indulged in no vulgarity himself, 
but he even thought less of a distinguished scholar and 
statesman for a somewhat broad anecdote related in a 
speech in Raleigh; and he had no patience with what 
he called "the Ladies' Home Journal's plan of making 
children better by telling them all the evil there is in 
the world." He was too robust, manly, fun-loving 
and red-blooded to have any suggestion of prudishness 
about him, but he was simply innately clean and pure- 
minded and had no relish for any associations or 
environments of a different character. Col. P. M. 
Pearsall tells an amusing incident about his trip to 
New York City in 1901, when he addressed the North 
Carolina Society there: "Two of his intimate friends 
from North Carolina went to New York to be present 
and hear the speech. They were there two or three 
days, and one evening one of these North Carolina 
gentlemen invited us out to dinner with him. He car- 
ried us uptown to a hotel and we went somewhere to 
a quasi-private dining room, an exceedingly sporty but 
not disreputable place. It was all right and I knew it. 
Still, while I have seen uncomfortable people, I cannot 
recall that I have ever seen a man quite so uncom- 
fortable as Governor Ay cock was the two hours we were 
there." 

A story of like tenor comes from Mr. F. B. Arendell: 
"I recall that as we were returning from an educational 
meeting in Oklahoma in December, 1909, we had an 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 179 

hour or two before train time in Birmingham, and so 
took in the busy shopping districts, landing finally in 
a popular-priced playhouse. The show was somewhat 
spectacular and was boisterously applauded by the 
crowded hall. There was the slightest suspicion of 
impropriety about it and I could see in a moment that 
it was not to Governor Aycock's liking. He sat quiet 
for a few moments but then turned and said, *Aren- 
dell, I don't like this show and you have got no business 
liking it, so let's go.' And we went." 

Anything approaching sacrilege also grated harshly 
on Aycock's spirit of reverence. Most of Mark 
Twain's fine humor he relished keenly, but he had no 
patience with "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven," 
because it seemed to him irreverent. 

"And had no fear to die." There have been few 
men to whom this phrase of Kipling's co uld have been 
more fittingly apphed than to Governor Ay cock. " I 
think he is the only person I ever knew who had con- 
quered the physical, animal fear of dying," says Col. 
P. M. Pearsall. "He did not wish to die, of course, 
but he left it all in the hands of the Lord with a calm 
confidence as to the future. He took the position that 
no man ever died too early; that when his end came, it 
came in the appointed time, when he had accomplished 
all that it was intended that he should do. On the 
other hand, he insisted that many people five too long, 
live beyond the day of usefulness, and often undo many 
good things already accomplished. He told me many 
times that he would probably die as he did die — that 
is, drop dead while speaking. He came to this con- 
clusion most likely on account of the fact that his 



180 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

father and two or three of his brothers died suddenly. 
I, Hke most people, do not care very much about talk- 
ing of death but Aycock really seemed, in a measure, 
to enjoy the contemplation of death and the entrance 
into a life freed from the worries, perplexities and 
anxieties of this world. To have known the man as I 
knew him strengthens one's faith in the fact that there 
just must be, and is, a land of rest beyond the grave." 
In this connection, a letter which Governor Aycock 
wrote Colonel Pearsall from the University of Penn- 
sylvania Hospital, March 5, 1912, (less than a month 
before his death) is worth quoting. Colonel Pearsall 
had written him of the death of Mr. Lamb Harvey, of 
Kins ton. The reply follows in part* 

"Dear Murph: 

Glad to hear from you. I had not heard of Mr. 
Harvey's death. He was a good man and strong. He 
was a dear friend to me and I loved him much. He was 
faithful and wise. I am grieved at his death. As 
time rolls on one finds that most of his friends are on 
the other side. It is well that it is so or this world would 
be too attractive and sweet a place, and we would not 
grow in grace by service and suffering, and would 
shiver with fear of death." 

"He knows now what makes the stars shine," Ay- 
cock would quote from "Barnaby Rudge" when a 
friend had passed over the river; and Col. Fred. A. 
Olds, whose intense love of nature made him a con- 
genial companion for Aycock on his hunting trips 
around Raleigh, remarks: "He was always an op- 
timist — even when we walked through the cemeteries 
and saw the monuments, cold things like trees in winter- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 181 

time, which seemed amid the snow to be creatures of a 
dead world. But he never thought of the tombstone 
as a dead thing, but as merely a symbol of something 
which by and by would show life; just as from his view- 
point the winter was not a dark and drear time, but 
merely one of preparation for spring — an Easter 
awakening in churchyard and forest, in the one at their 
finality of things, and the other at each recurring 
spring." 

Aycock had an intense love of nature and country 
life. He even had an aversion to walking on paved 
streets. Mr. Arendell recalls that on one occasion 
at a big hotel, while he was studying a two-page bill of 
fare, he remarked: "I wish we were all down at old 
Wiley Fort's in Wayne County where we could get 
some sure-enough sausage, spare-ribs, and old-fashioned 
chicken pie, and some corn bread with finger prints 
on the crust." As Colonel Olds goes on to say in the 
letter from which we have just quoted; " He really had 
at heart the things the country boy loves — the atmos- 
phere and life of his boyhood. To his eye a winter 
landscape, snow-covered, was impressive, and so was 
the fresh plowed field with that wonderful glint on the 
side of the sun-smitten clouds along the furrow. He 
had all the Greek love for the crimson clover of spring- 
time, for the nodding wheatheads through which the 
summer wind and sunshine race together, and for the 
luscious and unforgettable scuppernong of autumn. 
I well remember driving Governor Aycock on one 
occasion out in the country eastward from Raleigh, and 
as we topped a hill overlooking a wide view of notable 
beauty, he laid a hand on mine and said: *Look at that 



182 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

— what a landscape ! It rests the eye and the mind and 
the soul to see it. Do you know it seems to me to 
suggest the gentleness and charm and inspiration which 
a fine woman carries about her — a visible grace and 
an invisible fragrance of inspiration!'* 

Of fox hunting, he was passionately fond. "I want 
to go with you sometime," he said as the writer re- 
turned from a hunt last winter, and his eye lighted up 
with joyous memories of the inimitable music of the 
hounds when he had followed them on other wintry 
days. On one occasion while passing Pikeville, going 
to Wilson, he heard a pack in the distance and know- 
ing them to be his brother Benjamin's dogs, could not 
resist the temptation to get off and go toward them: 
"I was standing wondering what words in the English 
language could give expression to the matchless music 
of a pack in full chase, when Bill Durden, an old 
negro, looked up and said with enthusiasm equal to 
my own: 'Mr. Ay cock, now ain't them dogs running 
politeful.^' And I have adopted the word ever since 
for want of a better one." 

Dr. Henry van Dyke somewhere makes a prayer 
something like this: " O Lord, keep me from caring 
more for art than for life, for books than for folks." 
Aycock always preserved the fine bala.nce that this 
prayer suggests. His major interest was always in 
Hfe and in "folks," but he also had a keen appreciation 
of intellectual pleasures. He would not, if he could, 
have sold the joy he found in reading Tennyson for 
any amount of money. Tennyson, "Lorna Doone,'* 
Shakespeare and the Bible seemed to have been his 
favorite books. No other one fragment of literature had 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 183 

for him half the fascination that " Maud " had. His 
effective quotation from it in his speech accepting the 
Gubernatorial nomination is still remembered by many 
who heard it. On one occasion while he was Governor, 
the writer walked with him from the Executive Mansion 
to the Capitol, and he drifted from talk of education 
to talk of Tennyson and the pleasure he had had in 
reading Dr. van Dyke's volume, "The Poetry of Ten- 
nyson." "He explained one thing to me I had never 
understood," said the Governor, *' and that is the 
passage in ' Maud,* 

*For her feet have touched the meadows 
And left the daisies rosy.' 

"The explanation is, that the underside of the Eng- 
lish daisy is red." 

"I never understood * how money breeds,' as the 
phrase runs in *The Brook,' " he remarked one evening 
in February, 1912; and then he brought in his well- 
fingered Tennyson and read the whole poem, pausing 
now and then in the reading to express delight in the 
poet's aptest phrases and especially his description of 
the horse trading. 

He admired Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and 
thought more highly of Poe because, while Tennyson 
was yet a young man, Poe had said "I regard him as 
the very noblest poet that ever hved." Ay cock, in fact, 
used Tennyson so much that he shortened his full 
title to an affectionate nickname. "Old Tenn" he 
called him. In concluding his last speech — the speech 
he never lived to utter — he came to the word "equal" 
and paused. "Now let's see what *01d Tenn' says 



184 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

about equal," he remarked, and picking up his Tenny- 
son, read off the passage from "The Princess" which it 
will be seen is next to the last paragraph in the speech. 
"Lorna Doone"also helped to furnish him inspiration 
on this occasion as it had on many others. Many of 
Dickens's novels were among Aycock's favorites, and 
some of Scott's. He also had an almost extravagant 
admiration for Green's "Short History of the EngHsh 
People," and declared that no other book except the 
Bible influenced him more as a young man. Hender- 
son's *'Life of Stonewall Jackson" he pronounced 
"the best book on the war ever written by anybody." 
One of the last things he read was David Grayson's 
"Adventures in Contentment," concerning which he 
wrote the friend who sent it, from the University Hos- 
pital in Philadelphia: 

"I received the book this morning and have read 
every word of it. I have read nothing in a long time so 
delightful and refreshing. There is wisdom on every 
page. There are, too, so many quotable passages in 
it, for example: *A country's progress can be measured 
by those things once matters of debate which are now 
accepted as a matter of course.' When North Carolina 
accepts universal education, good roads and the sup- 
pression of injurious child labor, as a matter of course, 
what a State we shall have!" 

PoHtical subjects, of course, interested him greatly. 
Ida M. Tarbell's " History of the Tariff" he regarded 
as one of the best recent books on that subject but he 
thought Gladstone's reply to Blaine in the North Ameri- 
can Review debate in 1890, put the whole matter on 
the right basis — the moral iniquity of any system of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 185 

protection. He confessed that he had never gotten 
over the profound impression that Henry George's 
books made on him, although, of course, he did not 
accept all of the famous Single Taxer's conclusions. 
The last week in March, 1912, the writer read to Gov- 
ernor Aycock an address advocating a graduated tax 
on the unearned increment in land as well as a heavy 
graduated tax on inheritance shifting the main burden 
of taxation from the gains of thrift and industry to 
the gains of chance or inheritance. "You are right,*' 
was his comment, "but it will be a long time before the 
people see it." Edgar Gardner Murphy's "The Basis 
of Ascendency," he regarded as one of the ablest de- 
liverances on Southern problems. Governor Aycock 
was also a constant reader of the monthly magazines. 
Collier's Weekly and the Saturday Evening Post and 
the Congressional Record; and "no great speech in 
England or America escaped his attention." 

He was not a remarkably versatile man — not at least 
when we think of versatility as incarnated in Mr. Theo- 
dore Roosevelt — but he had a degree of culture, inten- 
sive rather than extensive, which would have surprised 
the average North Carolina voter. It is not every day 
that one finds a poHtician who can repeat pages of Ten- 
nyson by heart, can deliver a lecture on Joan of Arc, or 
amuse his children by repeating the grotesque sounds 
of a German rhyme. Any subject about which he was 
uninformed he regarded as a challenge to investigation, 
immediately bringing the necessary reference books 
or Encyclopedias to his aid. He was — as all orators 
and ^Titers should be — a student of words and dis- 
criminating in his choice of them. He sometimes made 



186 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

effective use of some unusual or even grotesque term or 
phrase which had impressed him. 

Ay cock was extremely simple in all his tastes. His 
friends, his books, his pipe, plenty of money to give 
away and enough left to live on in quietness — this was 
all he would have cared for. When he was inaugurated 
Governor, he would have no inaugural ball, not that he 
had scruples against dancing (for although a Baptist 
he allowed his own daughters to dance) but simply be- 
cause it did not suit his ideas of simplicity. He always 
felt most at home among plain country people such as 
he grew up among, and it has been frequently stated, as 
Prof. E. C. Brooks says in North Carolina Education 
that *' his greatest addresses are unpublished and will 
never be published, because he was greatest when 
speaking to an audience of country people." The 
showy extravagance of the newly rich, their scandals 
and their divorces, sickened him. He believed in men 
keeping their old-fashioned reverence for women, and 
in women keeping all the olden grace, reserve, and 
dignity which had prompted this reverence. As Gov- 
ernor of the State he took a strong ground against the 
divorce evil, saying in his message to the Legislature 
of 1905: "It is better that a few individuals should 
suffer from being unhappily married than that the 
pubhc view with reference to the solemnity and per- 
manence of the marriage relation should be in the 
slightest degree weakened. Wedlock ought not to be 
entered into lightly, but when it is once entered into, it 
ought, save for Scriptural causes, to be inviolable." 

Being at once absolutely free from affectation, and 
a typical product of North Carolina, knowing its 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 187 

people and their history and their conditions and hav- 
ing shared their poverty and their toil, he illustrated 
Emerson's saying, "The men who carry their points 
do not need to inquire of their constituents what they 
should say, but are themselves the country which they 
represent: nowhere are its emotions or opinions so in- 
stant and true as in them, nowhere so pure from a seK- 
ish infusion." One of Aycock's close friends has said: 
"The Governor was never obtrusive or argumentative, 
but expressed his views in such a simple and direct way 
that they did not invite argument, but seemed to be the 
conclusions reached by his hearers themselves. And 
right here was one of the evidences of the power of this 
man. He looked at things so directly and sincerely 
and with such common sense — in the hteral meaning 
of these two words — that his views seemed quite like 
reflections of one's own thoughts." On the same point 
another friend has WTitten us: "Governor Ay cock 
once gave me a definition of eloquence that was unique. 
He said that it was simply the response of the common 
sense — the common or general mind — to what the 
speaker was saying. Slumbering in the minds of men 
is a sense of right and justice, and the man who can 
interpret this feehng and give it expression, is the 
eloquent man, and this is why he can so mightily move 
men." In short, it would seem as if Ay cock would 
have said with our greatest American philosopher that 
the way to speak and write what shall not go out of 
fashion is simply to speak and write sincerely. 

The friend who reports the definition of eloquence 
we have just given, says in the same letter: "One 
night in Lexington I remarked to Governor Aycock 



188 CHARLES B. AYCOCK 

that I could not understand why a young man, even 
if his parents were Repubhcans, could be willing to 
sacrifice the social privileges that he would be obliged 
to forego in certain sections of the State in order to 
vote with that party. I can see the earnest face of the 
Governor yet as he turned to me in the moonlight aud 
said * Why that is no reason at all to a man who believes 
in his principles. If I knew I was right, social dis- 
crimination directed against me because of my prin- 
ciples would make me stronger and more determined 
to stand for them." 

This expression was thoroughly characteristic of 
Aycock and illustrates at once his courage and his 
sincerity. Fittingly, indeed, did Mr. Charles W. Tillett 
say to the young men at the University that the most 
notable lesson of his life is that it is not necessary to be 
a hypocrite or a demagogue in order to be popular with 
the people, while, turning to President Venable, Mr. 
Tillett added: 

"I appeal to you, sir, the President of this great 
University, to emblazon somewhere upon the walls of 
these buildings, in letters of gold, set in a frame of 
silver, 'The public life of Charles B. Aycock teaches that 
a man may have an abiding mastery over the affections of 
the people without sacrificing either self-respect or prin- 
ciple.''' 



CHAPTER XIII 

aycock's later years and his candidacy for the 

SENATE 

A YCOCK'S last years were probably his happiest. 
/-% He retired frora the Governor's office conscious 
-*' -^ that he had dared unpopularity for the sake of 
principle, and that he had won the love as well as the 
confidence of his people, and he had that love in con- 
stantly increasing measure ever after. Colonel Pear- 
sail's representation of his attitude is doubtless correct. 
"Governor Aycock of course, appreciated the honor 
of being Governor and especially the way in which it 
came to him, but he always felt the tremendous re- 
sponsibihty of the great office. It really was slightly 
oppressive to him: he was a humble man and had not 
the slightest tinge of vanity or conceit. He was very 
glad when his term of office ended, not that he wished 
to shirk any responsibihty, but he had done all that 
he could do and was anxious to get back to the life of a 
private citizen." 

Moreover, in view of the certain degree of dignity 
the Governor must maintain in the Mansion and before 
the people, and the inevitable calls upon his purse, it 
was a pitifully inadequate salary that the people of 
North CaroHna paid him as Governor — $4,000 per 
year. An incident he hked to tell was this: While 

189 



190 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Governor, he made a trip to his old home in Goldsboro, 
and in the course of the visit ran across an old negro, 
Calvin Rock, who had educated himself, learning his 
letters from an alphabet scrawled on a pine shingle by 
a country carpenter, and had also acquired consider- 
able possessions by his industry and prudence. 

"I's mighty glad to see you, Mr. Aycock,'* he said, 
"and mighty glad you are Guv'ner of the State." And 
then he laughed the darKy's contagious chuckle. "As 
fer me," he continued, "you know I couldn't affo'd 
to be Guv'ner." 

"Couldn't afford to be Governor? Why not, Cal- 
vin?" 

"Cause you see, sir, I gits more fer my strawberries 
than North Ca'hny pays the Guv'ner for a whole year's 
work!" 

It is not surprising that he left the Governor's office 
$8,000 in debt; nor is it surprising, in view of the char- 
acter of the man, that he promptly suppressed a move- 
ment for a popular subscription to pay off this amount. 

He resumed his law practice with his old friend and 
partner, Frank A. Daniels; was reelected to his old 
position of trustee of the Goldsboro schools, and settled 
down with his growing family to the simple life of a 
Goldsboro citizen. He had remarked while Governor 
that he feared the people ever after would expect a 
certain uncomfortable dignity in him — "For one 
thing, my friends, I can never go barefooted again" — 
but he wore his honors lightly, and the poorest man in 
Goldsboro, white or black, did not hesitate to approach 
him with confidence when in " hard luck " or menaced by 
the blind-folded goddess. " I miss him as I would one 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 191 

of my brothers,'* said a poorly clad workingman for- 
merly of Goldsboro but now of Raleigh, who was in the 
writer's oflSce a short time ago. "The poor folks in 
Goldsboro never had a better friend; not even the 
poorest, nine tenths of whom never paid him. I was 
arrested here in Raleigh on a false charge, and he heard 
of it and at once went on my bond, had me taken out, 
and got my case out of court, and didn't charge me a 
cent." 

Governor Aycock remained in Goldsboro from Jan- 
uary, 1905, to February, 1909, when he moved to 
Raleigh, because of better business opportunities, 
forming a congenial and profitable partnership with ex- 
Judge R. W. Winston, who came from Durham to join 
him. 

Satisfied with the political honors he had had, Ay- 
cock retired from the Governor's office content to 
follow the even tenor of his way, coming before the 
people only when his party needed his services, or some 
worthy friend needed his aid, when the cause of the 
common schools needed a champion somewhere, or 
some moral issue called him into the heat of the con- 
flict. He had no craving for further honors. Soon 
after his retirement as Governor, President Roosevelt 
tendered him some appointment, which he declined. 
In one session of the Legislature he was approached by 
members who told him that they had a sufficient num- 
ber pledged to elect him without doubt to the United 
States Senate, but he not only declined, but said he 
would not serve if elected. 

When the campaign for state-wide prohibition was 
begun in 1908, he took the stump ior the "dry" side 



192 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

and became one of the most powerful advocates the 
cause had. **I am a Jeffersonian Democrat and was 
reared in a * Hard-shell' Baptist home," he declared, 
"and no one believes more profoundly than I in every 
legitimate appHcation of the doctrine of personal 
liberty." But he declared that a man who wished to 
have his children grow up in a community free from the 
menace of barrooms, had just as much legal right to 
this form of "personal hberty " as the whiskey advocate 
had to his form — and a stronger moral right. 

"Why am I a prohibitionist?" he said. "Not to 
take any right away from you, but to see that you do 
not take any right away from me. It is not to find out 
whether another man wants liquor sold or whether 
you want it sold. You talk of ' personal liberty.' The 
retort is, that when you force a barroom on me, you 
take away my liberty. 

"What does prohibition mean.'^ It means a people 
calmly, judiciously, sacrificing their appetite upon the 
altar of their children's uplift. This people like liquor 
— I will say *we' like liquor. Suppose we do. That 
is the test. It wouldn't cost anything to give up some- 
thing we didn't want. It would give no power, no 
grace. How does a people become great? By grati- 
fying their passions and appetites? No, by sacrificing 
them. Point out the boys who are going to make this 
a great strong people and you will see them willing 
to forego their appetites and their passions for the privi- 
lege of enjoying the glory of to-morrow. iVs with these 
individuals, so with all boys and girls, and as with them 
so with the State. No State ever grew great except 
through the willing sacrifice of appetite." 

In his speech in Raleigh, he based his powerful appeal 
on the need of efficiency in all the people and an arraign- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 193 

ment of whiskey as a foe to all forms of efficiency. 
"But you poor people say," he declared, "that with 
prohibition, the rich people can get liquor and the poor 
can't. Very well, you will not be hurt. If the rich 
allow their sons to use whiskey, wealth and power w^U 
slip away from them and your sons will themselves be 
the rich men of to-morrow\" 

As a young man of twenty-one, he cast one of his 
first votes for state-wide prohibition in August, 1881 — 
"I was mighty lonesome then," he declared in 1908 — 
and in every local option election in Goldsboro, he was 
a conspicuous worker for the temperance cause. "I 
believe prohibition will decrease the number of drunk- 
ards in our rising generation of North Carolinians fully 
66| per cent.," he once remarked to the writer, and he 
insisted that there was no conflict between prohibition 
and Democratic doctrine. "A Democrat is a man 
who beheves in the individual and thinks his rights 
ought not to be restricted in any respect save only so 
far as is essential to the peace and progress of his neigh- 
bors," was his statement of the correct party principle 
as he gave it in 1910. 

Education, temperance legislation, tariff reform and 
better laws about factory child labor — these were the 
public questions he w^as most interested in during his 
last years. In the last letter the writer received from 
him, he mentioned the abolition of "injurious child 
labor" as one of the things most needed in North Caro- 
lina. He himself had stated the whole case most for- 
cibly in a message to the Legislature of 1903: "There 
is great necessity for the development of our industries. 
I am glad to see them increase in number and grow in 



194 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

prosperity. But there is no such imperative necessity 
for the creation and accumulation of wealth as to jus- 
tify us in the sacrifice of child life to secure it. Indeed, 
the State will grow richer by preserving the health and 
developing the minds and hearts of these children than 
it can possibly grow by the creation of any values which 
their puny arms can win.'* 

Always profoundly interested in the tariff, Aycock 
took an especially deep interest in the tariff legislation 
adopted by Congress after the Democratic victory 
in 1910. To him, as to Gladstone, it was always a 
question to be considered primarily in its moral aspects. 
As a matter of fact, no question of mere abstract poli- 
tics had much fascination for Aycock. He was es- 
sentially a crusader and it was not without reason that 
Mrs. Aycock selected the Scripture reading for his 
funeral from the fortieth Psalm beginning, "I have 
preached righteousness in the great congregation . ' ' He 
was never at his best, either before a jury or on the 
stump, until he felt that he was fighting for a great 
moral principle or some measure of human uplift. It 
was this that made his educational addresses so power- 
ful. And with him, protection was never simply a 
Repubhcan policy to be combated by him as a Demo- 
crat, but a moral iniquity to be denounced as one would 
denounce any theft, whether recognized by law or not, 
whereby wealth was taken from some people and given 
to others. Writing to one of our United States Sen- 
ators on May 20, 1909, he said: 

"I am, of course, perfectly aware that a tariff levied 
for revenue only will necessarily result in protection, 
but if a tariff is honestly levied for revenue, the ques- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 195 

tion uppermost in the consideration of tariff bills will 
be the revenue, and special interests will not and can- 
not have such power over shaping the schedules. I do 
not believe that we ought to break down in any degree 
the bar between RepubHcans and Democrats on this 
position, and I have never been able to understand how, 
when it suits our necessities, we can show that a tariff 
does not increase the cost to the consumer. Either a 
tariff does not benefit the manufacturer or producer, or 
it does increase the cost to the consumer. Of course, 
I am not unaware that this general principle may in 
special circumstances fail to work, but the general 
rule is unquestioned and ought always to be kept be- 
fore us. . . . 

**I have certain definite convictions on the subject 
growing out of the study of the tariff when I was a 
Cleveland elector in 1888 and again in 1892. I then 
came to the conclusion that a protective tariff was an 
absolute immorality, leading to all sorts of corruption 
and creating class interests and class feeling. I came 
to another conclusion, and that was that Mr. Cleveland 
never got beyond the A B C of tariff reform. He was 
dominated by the New England idea and was clamoring 
for free raw material. New England had about con- 
sumed her raw material and took up tariff reform, or 
rather took up free trade in raw material, and exploited 
the Democratic party along this line. The only true 
Democratic standpoint is, tariff for revenue, and 
levied with a view to producing the most revenue with 
the least burden upon the masses. In my conviction, 
any other tariff is a monstrosity." 

He did not believe that the question of "incidental 
protection" should ever be considered, for once you 
waive the point that it is immoral to consider protec- 
tion in any form, you break the dike and invite the 
whole flood of evil. In a letter to Governor Jarvis of 



196 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

April 1, 1912, he said, referring to his speech prepared 
for deHvery April 12th: *'I quote from Governor 
Wilson to the effect that the tariff is the chief issue of 
this campaign and must be reduced in accordance with 
Democratic doctrine and in such a fashion as not too 
violently to upset business. I am in just a little doubt 
about the wisdom of the quotation from Governor 
Wilson lest it should be misunderstood by zealous tariff 
reformers. For my part, if I were in the Senate, I 
would never consider the question of protection in 
framing a tariff bill.'* 

In all his political career, Aycock preached and 
exemplified the high doctrine proclaimed by Robert 
Toombs fifty years ago when he told his brother 
Senators to abolish the mint at Dahlonega, Ga. 
It was not needed, he said, and he was not going to 
advocate an appropriation for it merely because the 
money would come to his own State. "I am just as 
much opposed to an abuse in Georgia as I am to an 
abuse in New York," he said; and then he uttered this 
sentiment which ought to be immortal: "Whenever 
the system shall be firmly established that the States 
will enter a miserable scramble for the most money for 
their local appropriations, and that Senator is to be 
regarded the ablest representative of his State who can 
get for it the largest slice of the treasury, from that day 
public honor and property are gone and all the States 
are disgraced and degraded." This was Ay cock's 
doctrine, and in a letter of November, 1911, he ex- 
pressed these emphatic views: 

"If the people really want special privileges for 
North Carolina, or particular accommodations, they will 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 197 

certainly do better to select one of the other candi- 
dates. If any individual thinks more highly of him- 
self than another and believes the Government owes 
to him some special favor which does not of right belong 
to others, he ought to vote for one of my opponents. 
Any one of them can serve him better than I can, for if 
I go to the Senate, I shall go untrammeled and with the 
firm determination to serve the whole people, not only 
of North Carolina but of the United States, and no 
man nor any set of men shall have the right to expect 
of me an3i:hing other than faithful service to all. Of 
course, I should not be unmindful of the fact that I 
was a Senator from North Carolina, and that no legis- 
lation should be passed of a sectional character or of a 
local character to the injury of my State, but I should 
certainly not expect my State to gain any special 
privileges." 

His resentment against all injustice also went aflame 
when he came to consider the freight discriminations 
against North Carolina, which he frequently denounced. 
In a letter to Senator Simmons, May 12, 1911, he said. 
'*I hope that you can do something on the long and 
short haul business. The discrimination against 
North Carolina is outrageous. If you could in any 
manner change this you would have accomplished the 
greatest work for the State, financially, that has been 
done in this generation." 

In view of Aycock's statesman- like qualities, it is not 
surprising that North CaroHnians were constantly 
expressing the wish that he were again in pubhc 
service, but such things moved him not. Writing 
Mr. C. W. Tillett, in May, 1909, he said: "I have 
neither desire nor expectation of ever entering the 
political field again." Seven months later, when the 



198 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

demand that he become a candidate for Senator had 
grown more insistent, his mind had not changed and 
he stated his position with great clearness in a letter 
he addressed to the writer, January 27, 1910: 

"I received your letter some time since, asserting 
that the people would demand my services for the 
United States Senate. I have given to this matter 
that degree of consideration to which the earnestness 
of my friends entitles it, and I have deliberately and 
finally come to the conclusion that there are no cir- 
cumstances under which I would become a candidate 
for the Senate. I have neither inclination nor desire 
to run for the office. The place itself used to have some 
attractions for me, but even the attractions have 
passed away. I am content with my public career, and 
I believe that I have done all that my duty requires 
of me. 

"My own conviction is, that the generation to which 
I belong, those in and around fifty years, will never 
furnish to the South the leadership which it must have. 
We came on during, or at the end of the war, and our 
environment has been such that we were compelled to 
devote ourselves to local issues. These issues were 
important; indeed, they were vital. The future of our 
State and section depended upon their right solution. 
But, vital as they were, they were narrow, and in the 
discussion of them and in working them out, we im- 
bibed passions and prejudices that unfitted us for 
great work on the stage of the nation. It was my hope, 
and still is, that our labors would not be in vain, but 
would produce a stronger and broader leadership out 
of the generation to which you belong. That is my 
firm behef now. At present, I do not think it makes 
the shghtest difference whom we have in the United 
States Senate, but in the course of fifteen or twenty 
years, a new day will dawn for us, and Southern 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 199 

statesmanship, well trained, well equipped, broad- 
minded, honest, will again be in demand." 



In March, 1911, being urged to reconsider, in view 
of the Democratic victory in the preceding election, 
and the greater possibilities for usefulness in Washing- 
ton, his reply was: "I am not in a financial condition 
to enter into such a contest for Senator as seems to 
lie before me. If I were in such a condition, I still 
could not do it, because I do not believe in such a fight." 
The same month he had written Mr. Walter Murphey : 
*'They [such letters] are coming daily and they are em- 
barrassing me. All my life I have been doing as near 
as might be what my friends wanted me to do, and it 
is extremely annoying to be so situated as to appear 
not to appreciate the good will and kind intentions of 
my friends. I certainly do appreciate both, but I can- 
not now find it my duty to become a candidate for the 
Senate." \ 

But his friends finally prevailed. As he wrote Mr. 
C. O. McMichael, on May 18, 1911: "Though my 
judgment has been and still is against entering the race, 
I cannot resist the insistence of my friends that it is 
my duty to do so." The same day he wrote former 
Governor Glenn: "Against my own judgment, but in 
deference to the wisdom of my friends, I am going to 
do so, and, of course, after entering the race I shall 
want to win." 

The letter in which he announced his candidacy is 
printed in full elsewhere in this book. It struck a bold, 
clear note and provoked an mstant popular response. 
Its only weakness was this paragraph: "It is un- 



200 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

necessary for me to enunciate any personal platform, 
it being well known throughout the State that I have 
always stood on the National and State Democratic 
platforms without question, believing as I do that the 
assembled wisdom of the Democracy of the nation and 
State is far greater than my own." 

Aycock thought, of course, that he had expressed 
himself so emphatically upon all the vital political 
issues that it was not necessary for him to say more, 
but in this he was unwise. If he had immediately 
followed his announcement with such a ringing dec- 
laration of his beliefs as he enunciated in his speech 
prepared for delivery on April 12, 1912, it is impossible 
to say what a response he would have evoked. As it 
was, he actually did himself an injustice in the para- 
graph which we have quoted. He was not a man who 
would have been content to sit still and "take instruc- 
tions." He not only had the most positive convictions 
about all the great questions of the time, but he be- 
lieved so profoundly in the fundamental principles of 
the Democratic Party that he would not have accepted 
office on a platform he believed contrary to these fun- 
damental principles. In a letter to Mr. Fred R. Yoder, 
November 20, 1911, he said: 



*'This office belongs to the people of North Carolina 
and they select the Senator to serve them, and they 
make the platform upon which he is to stand, and give 
him his instructions as to measures and principles 
which he shall advocate. I am a Democrat and would 
not accept the office if the Democrats were to instruct 
nie to advocate any doctrine contrary to the principles 
of that party. I am willing to leave the principles of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 201 

the party to the declaration of the people in convention 
assembled. If that declaration should he against any 
conviction of mine, involving principle, I would not 
jiccept the service of a Senator. If the declaration of 
principles is in harmony with what I believe, I can only 
refer to my past career while Governor of North Caro- 
lina for the fidelity with which I shall carry them out." 

Of the feverish impatience for political aid which so 
many candidates betray, Aycock gave no evidence. 
The nearest he came to asking any man's support was 
\o write an occasional letter when he heard of some man 
declaring for him: '*I have been told tjiat you favor 
my candidacy. I wish to express my appreciation of 
your friendship. If my information is incorrect, do 
not let this letter embarrass you in the least." He 
preferred to talk of other things rather than his per- 
sonal ambitions, and the writer, though seeing him 
frequently, heard him mention his candidacy only once 
or twice in the six months following his announcement. 
Mr. M. R. Dunnaway writes us in referring to a con- 
versation TN-ith Aycock after his address at the Oxford 
Orphan Asylum in 1911 : "Although his candidacy for 
the nomination to the office of United States Senator 
had been announced, he dismissed the matter with a 
few words and ardently discoursed on the w^ork to which 
his whole life had been unselfishly dedicated — the 
advancement and improvement of the citizenship of 
North Carolina through the education of the youth." 

It is useless to speculate upon what would have 
been the result of the Senatorial contest had iVycock 
lived. Whether those who think he would have won 
are right, or those who think he would not, does not 



202 THE LITE AND SPEECHES 

concern his fame. As he said of the Confederate sol- 
dier, " We need not ask his relation to either victory or 
defeat, but only how he bore himself," and his conduct 
in this respect, the way he bore himself, constitutes a 
higher honor than any mere election to the United 
States Senate would have been. For his opponents 
he had only the utmost good will. When an ardent 
supporter came to him the week before his death with 
some story about Governor Kitchin, his reply was: 
"Well, let's hear no more of that. Governor Kitchin 
is a good man and I don't want my friends to cherish 
any bitterness toward him." To Judge Clark, he not 
only paid a just tribute in the manuscript of his last 
unpublished speech, but said to his stenographer later, 
" I must add a sentence or two in recognition of Judge 
Clark's services as a Confederate Soldier." With 
Senator Simmons his relations were even closer. Three 
days before announcing his candidacy he wrote Mr. 
Simmons: "I have at last concluded to enter the 
Senatorial race, and before making any announcement 
of it, I feel it my duty to say so to you. I hope you 
know this determination does not rise out of any an- 
tagonism to you or to your ambitions, and I sincerely 
trust it will not have the slightest effect on our cordial 
relations of a life-time friendship." Senator Simmons 
replied in an equally cordial vein. 

But while Aycock had long had friendly relations 
with Senator Simmons, it cut him to the quick to have 
. people think that he was running in Mr. Simmons 's 
interest, or might retire in his favor. The last political 
letter he ever signed was in denunciation of this idea. 
The suggestion hurt Aycock simply because such a 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 203 

policy "would have been disingenuous — entirely out 
of keeping with all his life-long record for candor, open- 
ness and frank dealing with the people — and that any 
one could suspect him of assuming any other attitude, 
or of being a party to any deception, however remote, 
galled his soul. "It is the first time in my life," he 
said, "that I have ever had reason to complain of my 
friends." 



CHAPTER XIV 

aycock's last days and his relations 
to his family 

IN HIS last years Ay cock, was frequently attacked 
by the heart trouble which finally proved fatal. 
These attacks came almost invariably at night, 
and through many a weary midnight and hours slow- 
creeping toward the dawn, his devoted wife and family, 
and no less devoted brother-in-law, Dr. Albert Ander- 
son, labored together to avert the death that more than 
once seemed to threaten him. But only the most ex- 
hausting or excruciating pain could keep him at home 
when daylight and duty called. The night before he 
made his address on Robert E. Lee, January 19, 1912, an 
attack that really threatened to prove fatal, so exhausted 
him that he was forced to remain in bed all next day, 
getting up only in time to summon his reserve vitality 
and deliver his speech with a serenity that belied his real 
condition. 

In February, an examination showed his heart to be 
in such condition that a month's treatment by the 
famous specialist, Doctor Stengel, at the University of 
Pennsylvania Hospital, was not only advised but 
peremptorily ordered. The treatment seemed to be 
beneficial; he gained several pounds and returned in 
good spirits. In a letter written to his old friend, Judge 

204 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 205 

W. S. O'B. Robinson, March 26, 1912, his optimism 
is illustrated: 

"Dear Bill: I am glad that you are glad, but I 
am the more glad that I am really much improved in 
every way — stronger, better, fatter, cheerfuller. There 
really is no ground for your being blue. When spring 
really comes you will be as happy as the birds and your 
mind as clean and sweet as the wet violets." 

This optimism Ay cock maintained to the last. 
Even at Birmingham the day of his death, April 4, 1912, 
when something was said about Senator Bob Taylor's 
despondency having hastened his end, Aycock re- 
marked, **That will ruin any man. Some of my friends 
tried to make me believe that I was going to die, but 
I'm not. I have gained six pounds in the last six 
weeks." 

That night a great audience packed the Jefferson 
Theatre from pit to topmost gallery to hear the *' Educa- 
tional Governor of North Carolina." Practically every 
seat was taken, and Aycock was at his best. He 
played on his audience as some famous master on his 
musical instrument. His gentle humor was contagious. 
His homely, "folksy" illustrations carried his message 
to both mind and heart. And when he proclaimed 
with thrilling eloquence, "Oh, my friends, I thank 
Almighty God, who is no respecter of persons, that you 
cannot get the best for your boy and your girl until you 
are ready to give the best to my boy and my girl," the 
vast audience responded as if with a shout. Then as 
he was on the verge of illustrating a point by his fre- 
quently used story of how he spoke to the deaf children 



206 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

at Morganton, he turned to Governor O'Neal and said, 
"You cannot talk to an audience that cannot hear. 
Governor, did you ever try it? Well, I have. When I 
was Governor I made speeches all over North Carolina. 
I canvassed the State for four years in behalf of the 
children of the State, right straight along. Sometimes 
on Sundays they asked me down to the church to talk, 
and I always talked about education " 

He got no further. With "education" as the last 
word that fell from his lips, he "threw up his hands, 
reeled backward and fell down dead before the thou- 
sands who had just been applauding him." 

No North Carolinian ever had a more dramatic end. 
Death came to him without warning, unheralded; 
surprised him in the midst of the day's duties; and yet 
he had so lived that he needed no preparation and 
destiny itself could not have better staged his taking 
off. He died pleading for the cause of all causes near- 
est his heart — the education of all the children. The 
last word he uttered was "education." The last ad- 
dress he had been preparing was one he expected to 
deliver at the unveiling of the monument to his educa- 
tional co-worker. Dr. Charles D. Mclver. The last 
political letter he ever signed was one deploring all 
bitterness and speaking most generously of his oppo- 
nents. The last address he had concluded was one he 
had prepared for delivery on April 12th, so lofty in con- 
ception, so magnanimous in spirit, that not a word 
jarred the supporters of other candidates when it was 
published without the alteration of a syllable the Sun- 
day after his funeral. And if he had foreseen that the 
last paragraph would be his last word to the people of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 207 

his State, he probably would not have changed a letter 
of it: "EQUAL! That is the word! On that word 
I plant myself and my party — the equal right of every 
child born on earth to have the opportunity *to bur- 
geon out all there is within him.' " It was also singu- 
larly fitting that his funeral was held on Easter Sunday, 
the day commemorative of the resurrection of the Mas- 
ter he served, and symboHc of the personal resurrec- 
tion in which he beheved with the imphcit faith of a 
Httle child. 

Never in the history of the State was there more 
universal mourning for any man. '*In my long Hfe 
of seventy-eight years," said the sagelike Rev. J. D. 
Hufham, "I have known all great North Carolinians 
of my time — Graham, Manly, Morehead, Reid, Bragg, 
Ransom, Vance, and others — but Aycock was without 
doubt the most beloved man in the history of the State. 
His political opponents were as sincere and unrestrained 
as his political friends in their sorrow for the passing of 
the man pronounced by common consent "the greatest 
North Carolinian of his time." But with all the wealth 
of tributes uttered by "the mighty man and the man of 
war, the judge and the prophet, the prudent and the 
ancient, the counselor and the eloquent orator," there 
was not another' that would have so touched his great 
heart as that of which the minister told beside the 
flower-laden coffin, the story of the little girl in Raleigh, 
no blood or bone of his, "I wnsh God had let me die 
instead of Governor Aycock," she said to her mother. 
"He could do so much good and I can do so little." 
Some one has said, "We admire our friends for what 
they do ; we love them for what they are." The people 



^208 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of North Carolina not only admired Aycock but loved 
him, and in the keeping of their love his fame is secure. 
As these words are written, the monument that their 
gratitude will erect in the capital of the State has not 
taken form, and the stone has not been carved to mark 
even "the low mound where he lies." And yet it may 
well be said that with the simple affection of the people 
he loved and served — the poor man to whom he was 
ever a brother, the rich man to whom he was ever just, 
the State's womanhood to which he was ever reverent, 
and the little children whose hopes and possibilities 
were ever on his mind and heart — he still, in Milton's 
phrase — 

" Sepulchred in such pomp dost lie, 
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die." 

Governor Aycock was twice married — first in 1881 
to Miss Varina Davis Woodard, daughter of Elder 
William Woodard, of Wilson County, a young woman 
whose beautiful character endeared her to all who knew 
her. She died in 1890, leaving two children, Charles 
B. Aycock, Jr., (who died in 1901), and a daughter, 
Alice Varina, who was married May 29, 1912, to Mr. 
Clarence Poe, her engagement having been announced 
but a few weeks before Governor Ay cock's death. 

In 1891, Mr. Aycock married Miss Cora Lily Wood- 
ard, a younger sister of his first wife, who worthily 
shared his honors and his burdens for a score of years, 
and survives him with seven children: William Ben- 
jamin, Mary Lily, Connor Woodard, John Lee, Louise 
Rountree, Frank Daniels, and Brantley. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 209 

A whole chapter might be filled, if delicacy did not 
forbid, with incidents illustrating the beautiful rela- 
tions existing between him, his wife and children. He 
did not take his business cares home with him; there 
the Governor and the lawyer was lost in the character 
of the husband and father. To his wife he was ever a 
lover as well as a husband, to his children a comrade as 
well as a father. Of his oldest daughter he said but a 
little while before his death, "She and I understand 
each other like brother and sister." Unlike many 
busy men, he took an interest in everything about the 
home. Writing from the hospital a month before his 
death he said: "Bill really wrote me the best letter 
I have had from home. He told me how many eggs he 
is getting daily and the particular things he had planted 
in the garden." 

In a tribute to Judge James E. Shepherd, in January 
1912, he set forth his own ideal of family life: "His 
relations to his family were perfect. He was a most 
dutiful and devoted husband, attentive to his wife in 
small things and forgetful of her in nothing that could 
contribute to her comfort and happiness. With his 
boys he was something of an older boy than they, 
but not too much older to be entirely companionable. 
He thought their thoughts and sympathized with their 
ambitions and their different points of view. He 
knew that they did not have his experience, but he 
had all their experience and more, and went back to 
live with them from their own standpoint." 

Another passage in this address on Judge Shepherd 
is undoubtedly autobiographical in its inspiration — 
the reference to the death of Judge Shepherd's oldest 



210 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

son: "The death of his son, James E. Shepherd, Jr., 
while just entering upon manhood, was a blow to him 
so deep and profound that he never entirely recovered 
from it. Life from thenceforward never had so rosy a 
hue as before." 

The death of Governor Aycock's own eldest son, 
Charles B. Ay cock, Jr., in 1901, was perhaps the hardest 
cross he ever had to bear. The young man was a prom- 
ising Junior at the University of North Carolina and 
bore a character which showed that he had observed 
the injunction with which his father (himself a perfect 
exemplification of that fine old phrase ("a high man") 
would always part with him, "Be a tall boy, Son, be 
a tall boy." 



PART II 
AYCOCK'S SPEECHES 

CHAPTER I 

THE KEYNOTE OF THE AMENDMENT CAMPAIGN 

(Address Accepting the Democratic Nomination for 
Governor, April 11, 1900.) 

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Convention: 

THE language of gratitude ought to be brief, for 
inadequacy of speech is never so apparent as 
when it seeks to convey a sense of obligation. 
I am grateful to you and to the people whom you 
represent. I cannot tell you how deeply so. My past 
life and service to the State have so little justiiSed the 
great confidence which you show in me to-day that I 
am made humbly anxious for all the rest of my life to 
approve to your judgment the action of your affections. 
This nomination has not come to me unsought, but I 
can say with truth that I have sought it in honorable 
fashion and it has come to me free from the taint of 
contrivance and combination. For the office of Gover- 
nor itself, dignified and honorable as it is, made glorious 
by the records of a long line of the State's greatest and 
best men, I have not wished, but I have earnestly 
desired that manifestation of affection on the part of 

211 



^n THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

the people of North Carolina which finds its expression 
in election to the Governorship. This unanimous 
nomination is a joy to me, because the good-will of my 
fellow citizens has ever been a thing of delight to me. 
When I consider the character, the ability, the service, 
the fitness of the gentlemen who were named in con- 
nection with this nomination, any one of whom would 
have done honor to the State, I am oppressed with the 
consciousness of my obligation to you, and with fear 
of my inability to meet the demands which your kind- 
ness makes upon me. But the fight is not mine, nor 
shall I claim the victory when it is won. The contest 
this year is to be made by the people of North Carolina 
and the personality of men will count for little. 

The question for settlement is of the utmost impor- 
tance. It touches the race question and deals with 
conditions. For thirty years our political battles have 
been fought from time to time along race lines, while 
we have sought in vain to make the theory of universal 
suffrage work out good government and private virtue. 
We have found by actual trial that it cannot be done. 
Senator Cullom tells us in his report of the Hawaiian 
Commission that "the American idea of universal 
suffrage presupposes that the body of citizens who are 
to exercise it in a free and independent manner have by 
inheritance or education such knowledge and appre- 
ciation of the responsibilities of free suffrage and of a 
full participation in the sovereignty of the country as to 
be able to maintain a Republican form of government." 

Our experience has taught us that the negro has not 
such knowledge either by inheritance or education. 
The whole people of North Carolina have undoubtedly 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 213 

come to this conclusion. All parties have in different 
ways and to different extents recognized the incapacity 
of the negro for government. In 1875 the people 
changed the Constitution at the instance of the Demo- 
cratic party, and authorized the Legislature to provide 
for the government of the counties. Under that con- 
stitution the Legislature provided a system of county 
government by which the justices of the peace in the 
various counties were appointed by the Legislature 
and not elected by the people. These justices in turn 
chose the county commissioners who appointed the 
various school committees and passed upon the bonds 
of the county officers chosen by the people. The coun- 
ties of western North Carolina gave up their much 
loved right of local government in order to relieve their 
brethren of the east from the intolerable burden of 
negro government. 

For twenty years the Republican party waged 
unceasing warfare upon us against the form of county 
government adopted by the Democratic party. They 
appeal to that desire which has always characterized 
our people to participate in the selection of the officers 
closest to them. When the Populist party came into 
existence it joined with the Republicans upon this issue 
and together they won a victory over the Democracy. 
They came into power with the distinct pledge to 
restore to the people local self-government and indeed 
the act changing the old system is entitled, '*An Act to 
restore to the people of North Carolina local self-gov- 
ernment," and yet coming into power as they did upon 
this distinct pledge they were afraid to trust the negro 
with the government and put in the statute a provision 



214 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

for the appointment by a Judge of the Superior Court 
of two additional county commissioners, and clothed 
these two with more power than the other three chosen 
by the people possessed. Fear of negro rule compelled 
the Republicans and Populists to introduce for the first 
time in North Carolina since the Democratic party 
abolished it under the leadership of that true-hearted 
and great North Carolinian, Governor David S. Reid, 
a government by freeholders, for this Act distinctly 
provides that the two additional commissioners shall 
only be appointed upon the application of 200 citizens, 
100 of whom shall be freeholders. The Republicans 
and Populists themselves, thereby, to some extent 
restricted suffrage to those who owned land in order to 
escape from the unbearable burden of negro rule in the 
eastern counties. Is there any Republican, is there 
any Populist, who will deny that this provision was put 
in the statute as a safeguard against the evil of negro 
suflFrage; will any of them pretend that any such pro- 
vision would ever have been made if only white men 
could vote? They thereby confess, and they have put 
this confession in the form of a statute and written it in 
the law books of North Carolina forever, that the negro, 
where he predominates in numbers, cannot be trusted to 
govern. They themselves have declared his unfitness 
and published his incapacity. 

Again, in 1897, there came into the Executive chair in 
North Carolina a man, who in a public speech had 
declared that he was not a friend to the white man nor 
a friend of the negro, but a friend of man. With his 
advent to power the negro naturally forgot the days 
when he was regarded as a savage and with expectant 




AYCOCK AS HE APPEARED WHILE GOVERNOR 
He was then much stouter than in his later years, weighing nearly 
200 pounds. He was about five feet eleven inches high. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 215 

joy listened to the inaugural address which was to 
usher in that new and glorious day of political equality, 
but before that address closed we hear this friend of 
man warning the Legislature not to turn the cities of 
the State over to the "ignorant and property less ele- 
ments," and thereby this friend of man declared that 
fond as he was of universal mankind he realized that 
the negro is incapable of governing the cities in which 
he dominates, for surely it will not be contended by 
anybody that Governor Russell had other reference 
than to the negroes when he spoke of the "ignorant and 
propertyless elements." And the Legislature of 1897, 
violent as it was, determined as it showed itself to be 
to break all ties with the past and to repeal all Demo- 
cratic legislation followed the advice of the Governor 
to the extent of providing for the appointment by the 
Governor in the cities of New Bern and Wilmington 
additional aldermen to those selected by the people. 
This act of the Legislature and this idea of Governor 
Russell came before the Supreme Court of North 
Carolina in the case of Harriss vs. Wright from Wil- 
mington, and that body sustained the legislation and 
recognized alike the unfitness of the negro to rule and 
the right of the State to protect itself against his 
incompetency. Every judge on that bench knew that 
as a matter of fact legislation was passed to discrimi- 
nate against the incapacity of the negro and yet the 
opinion of the court does not mention the Fifteenth 
Amendment nor declare the act unconstitutional. So I 
may be permitted to observe in passing that the courts 
know many things as facts which they can never know 
judicially. Further confirmation of the unfitness of the 



216 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

negro to govern may be found in the open letter which 
Senator Butler addressed to the people of North 
Carolina just before the election in 1898, in which he 
pledged the Populist candidates for the Legislature to 
introduce bills providing a special form of county gov- 
ernment for certain eastern counties where necessary. 

In what eastern counties did Senator Butler suppose 
a special form of county government was necessary and 
why was it necessary? Plainly he meant in those 
eastern counties where the negro predominated and 
because of the unfitness of the negro to rule. More 
recent and convincing evidence can be offered. Sen- 
ator Pritchard in his speech delivered in the United 
States Senate on January 22, 1900, uses this language, 
*'In the very nature of things it (negro domination) 
cannot be. From the earliest dawn of civilization to 
this good hour the great white race has given to the 
world its history, its philosophy, its laws, its govern- 
ment, and its Christianity, and it will continue to do 
so." In a recent speech delivered in Goldsboro by 
Major H. L. Grant before the Republican convention 
of Wayne County he declared that "the negro could Ho 
longer hold office and that for twenty years he had 
fought to put down the idea of negro supremacy; that 
while the negro under the Constitution has a right to 
hold office, public sentiment was stronger than law, 
and public sentiment was opposed to the negro holding 
office." 

Indeed it has become the fashion among Republicans 
and Populists to assert the unfitness of the negro to 
rule, but when they use the word rule, they confine it to 
holding office. When we say that the negro is unfit to 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 217 

rule we carry it one step further and convey the correct 
idea when we declare that he is unfit to vote. 

The causes which have brought about this consensus 
of opinion have in large measure forced themselves on 
public attention within the last few years. We have 
had but two periods of Republican rule in North 
Carolina, from 1868 to 1870, and from 1896 to 1898. 
That party contains a large number of respectable 
white men, but the negro constitutes over two thirds of 
its voting strength. Government can never be better 
nor wiser than the average of the virtue and intelli- 
gence of the party that governs. The Republicans 
insist that we have never had negro rule in North 
Carolina; that the Republican party elects white men 
to office, and that this fact gives us a government by 
white men. Governor Russell in his message to the 
last Legislature vindicates himseK against the charge 
of appointing negroes to office and proudly boasts that 
out of 818 appointments made by him not more than 
eight were negroes. He misses the point which we 
made and make against him and his party; it is not 
alone that Governor Russell put the eight negroes in 
office, and his party a thousand more, but that the 
125,000 negroes put him in office over the votes of white 
men. It is the party behind the officeholder that 
governs and not the officeholder himself. There is no 
man in the State to-day more <:jertainly conscious than 
Governor Russell that he has failed of his purpose 
because he had behind him the negroes of the State 
and not the white men. We had a white man for 
Governor in 1870 when counties were declared in a 
state of insurrection; when innocent men were arrested 



218 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

without warrant by military cutthroats; when the 
writ of habeas corpus was suspended and the judiciary 
was exhausted. We had a white man for Governor in 
1898 when negroes became intolerably insolent; when 
ladies were insulted on the public streets; when burg- 
lary in our chief city became an every night occurrence; 
when "sleep lay down armed and the villainous centre- 
bits ground on the wakeful ear in the hush of the 
moonless nights"; when more guns and pistols were 
sold in the State than had been in the twenty preced- 
ing years; when lawlessness walked the State like a 
pestilence and the Governor and our two Senators 
were afraid to speak in a city of 25,000 inhabitants. 

It is the negro behind the officer and not the officer 
only that constitutes negro government. 

Major Grant now repudiates Congressman White and 
draws the color line against negro officeholding, but it 
has not been two years since a Republican convention 
composed in part of white men applauded to the echo 
the declaration of White that the industry of negro 
officeholding had but fairly begun. We have taught 
them much in the past two years in the University of 
White Supremacy, we will graduate them in August 
next with a diploma that will entitle them to form a 
genuine white man's party. Then we shall have no 
more revolutions in Wilmington; we shall have no more 
dead and wounded negroes on the streets, because 
we shall have good government in the State and peace 
everywhere. The Governor of the State and the 
Senators will not be afraid to speak anywhere, for free- 
dom of speech will become the common possession of 
the humblest of us. Life and property and liberty 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 219 

from the mountains to the sea shall rest secure in the 
guardianship of the law. 

But to do this we must disfranchise the negro. 
This movement comes from the people. Politicians 
have been afraid of it and have hesitated, but the great 
mass of white men in the State are now demanding and 
have demanded that the matter be settled once and for 
all. To do so is both desirable and necessary — desir- 
able because it sets the white man free to move along 
faster than he can go when retarded by the slower 
movement of the negro; necessary because we must 
have good order and peace while we work out the 
industrial, commercial, intellectual and moral develop- 
ment of the State. The amendment to the Constitu- 
tion is presented in solution of the problem. It is plain 
and simple. It proceeds along wise lines. It is care- 
fully and thoughtfully drawn. It stays inside of the 
Fifteenth Amendment and, nevertheless, accompUshes 
its purpose. It adopts the suggestion of Senator Cul- 
lom and demands the "existence of sufficient intelli- 
gence, either by 'inheritance or education,'" as a 
necessary qualification for voting. It requires of the 
negro the qualification by education because he has it 
not by inheritance and demands of the white man only 
that he possess it by inheritance. It does not sweep 
the field of expedients to disfranchise the negro which 
is held constitutional in the Mississippi case, but seizes 
upon his educational unfitness and saves the whites 
from participation therein by boldly recognizing the 
claim of their hereditary fitness. The Amendment 
makes a distinction between a white man and a negro, 
but it does so on the ground that the white man has a 



220 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

knowledge by inheritance which the negro has not. 
Has the white man such superior knowledge? Will 
any man deny it? Will Senator Pritchard deny it? 
Hear what he said in his recent speech in the Senate. 
"It is absurd to contend that there is any danger of 
negro domination in North Carolina. In the very 
nature of things it cannot be. From the earliest dawn 
of civilization to this good hour the great white race has 
given to the world its history, its philosophy, its laws, its 
government, and its Christianity, and it will continue 
to do so." Why unless the white man is superioi"? 
Will Senator Butler deny it? Ask the Caucasian, 
evidently named in honor of the great race. Will 
Governor Russell deny it? Surely he will not assert 
that unlettered white men are no better than *'sav^ 
ages." If then it be true that unlettered white men 
have a knowledge of government superior to that 
possessed by unlettered negroes I want to knov/ if 
Senators Butler and Pritchard and Governor Russell 
want the Supreme Court to hold that the Fifteenth 
Amendment demands a lie. The Democratic party 
knows the truth — it is certain that the unlettered 
white man is more capable of government than the 
negro. It is so certain of it that it has put its opinion in 
writing — has printed it in the laws of 1899 — has 
submitted it to the people and it now challenges any 
white man in North Carolina to deny it. Republicans 
are professing a special love for the poor and unlettered 
white man, but at the same time they assert that the 
law can make no distinction between him and the negro. 
The Democratic party takes the true, bold ground that 
a white man is superior to a negro and that the law of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 221 

man will follow the law of God in recognition of it. If 
we are wrong about this, then God pity us for that sense 
of superiority which beats with our blood and boast- 
fully exclaims with St. Paul "I am freeborn." 

But the opponents of the Amendment attack it on 
another ground. They say that every child who comes 
of age after 1908, white and black, must be able to 
read and write before he can vote. This is true. The 
Amendment does so provide. We recognize and pro- 
vide for the God-given and hereditary superiority of 
the white man and of all white children now thirteen 
years of age, but for the future as to all under thirteen 
we call on them to assert that superiority of which we 
boast by learning to read and write. The schools are 
open and will be for four or more months every year 
from now to 1908. The white child under thirteen who 
will not learn to read and write in the next eight years 
will be without excuse. 

But we are told that there are orphan children in the 
land. And there are. But the State and the Masonic 
fraternity support the Orphanage at Oxford and they 
stand with open arms inviting orphan children to enter 
the doors of that noble institution. The Odd Fellows* 
Orphanage at Goldsboro is open for the sons and daugh- 
ters of Odd Fellows, and the township in which I have 
the happiness to live in its public graded school teaches 
without money and without price, but not, thank God, 
without a blessing, the orphans assembled there. The 
Baptist Orphanage at Thomas ville with its 170 pupils 
follows the Master and preaches the Gospel to the poor 
while it teaches to read and write. Barium Springs and 
the Thompson Orphanage and the Friends' Orphanage 



222 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

near High Point attest the interest of Presbyterians 
and Episcopalians and Friends in the education of poor 
orphans, while the Methodists are opening in this 
beautiful city a home and school for those to whom 
they owe a duty. The State and charity and philan- 
thropy and Christianity all stand ready to aid our boast 
of superiority. 

The man who seeks in the face of these provisions to 
encourage illiteracy is a public enemy and deserves the 
contempt of all mankind. I have heard Republican 
speakers grow eloquent over the impossibility of the poor 
white children learning to read and write in eight years. 
The man who makes such a speech has no such opinion 
of the incapacity of his own children as to suppose that 
they cannot learn to read and write in eight years. I 
would that I could reach the heart of every illiterate 
poor man in North Carolina and give him assurance 
that his children are as bright and capable as those of 
the demagogue who seeks to encourage him not to 
educate his children. I would assure him that these 
demagogues have their own children in school while 
seeking to keep those of the poor and illiterate out, their 
purpose being to gain a start in life for their children 
ahead of those whom they seek to mislead. 

Gentlemen of the convention, this clause of our 
Amendment does not weaken but strengthens it. In 
your speeches to the people, in your talks with them on 
the streets and farms and by the fireside, do not hesi- 
tate to discuss this section. I tell you that the pros- 
perity and the glory of our grand old State are to be 
more advanced by this clause than by any other one 
thing. Speak the truth, "tell it in Gath, pubhsh it in 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 

the streets of Askelon" that universal education of the 
white children of North Carolina will send us forward 
with a bound in the race with the world. Life is a 
mighty combat and the people who go into it best 
equipped will be sure to win. Massachusetts has groTVTi 
rich while we have remained poor and complained of her 
riches. She educated while we remained ignorant. If 
she has grown rich out of us it is because she knew how 
to do so and we did not know how to prevent it. With 
the adoption of our Amendment after 1908 there will 
be no State in the Union with a larger percentage of 
boys and girls who can read and write, and no State 
will rush forward with more celerity or certainty 
than conservative old North Carolina. The day 
of the miserable demagogue who seeks to perpetuate 
illiteracy in the State will then have happily passed 
forever. 

There is one other provision of the Amendment to 
which I must advert and that is the payment of the poll 
tax by March 1st of election years as a condition to 
voting. The largest part of the poll tax goes to public 
education under the Constitution. K our boys are to 
be educated as a condition precedent to voting after 
1908, then no man who will not contribute to that end 
ought to vote. Nearly all white persons liable to poll 
tax pay it now. If the negro wants to vote it is no 
hardship on him that he should be required to pay his 
tax to the support of these schools in which his race gets 
more than it pays of the pubhc fund. The various 
provisions of the Amendment work together for good 
to all men. We are going to carry them through to 
success. The fight is on. We unfurl anew the old 



224 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

banner of Democracy. We inscribe thereon "White 
Supremacy and Its Perpetuation. *' 

Under that banner we shall win and when we shall 
have won we will have peace in the land. There will 
be rest from political bitterness and race antagonism. 
Industry will have a great outburst. Freed from the 
necessity of voting according to our color we shall have 
intellectual freedom. Error will come face to face with 
truth and shall suffer that final crushing which the poet 
denies to truth. With freedom of thought will come 
independence of action and public questions will stand 
or fall in the court of reason and not of passion. To 
these great ends I beg your unceasing activity during 
the present campaign. Let your work be with zeal and 
earnestness. Remember that the peace of the State 
is at stake. Do not forget that the safety of our women 
is dependent upon it. Ladies refugeed from Wilming- 
ton in 1898 as they did before the advance of Sherman 
in 1865. The county in which we are assembled is 
named in honor of a woman, Esther Wake. The city 
in which we are is named for that gallant gentleman 
whose most famous act among his many great and 
illustrious deeds is that he spread his cloak upon the 
ground in order that his queen might walk dry shod. 
In North Carolina in every home there is a queen — 
wife, sister, mother or daughter — and in her name I 
demand your allegiance and service. 

It is by no accident that the first child born of English 
parentage in America was born on North Carolina soil 
and was a girl. The event was both a prophecy and an 
inspiration — a prophecy in foretelling that modesty 
which, characterizing North Carolinians, has found its 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 225 

chief pleasure in doing things rather than in proclaim- 
ing them when done; an inspiration to all North Caro- 
lina white men to forever regard the protection of the 
womanhood of the State as the first duty which God 
in the birth of Virginia Dare laid upon us for all time. 

In the performance of this delightful duty the North 
Carolina Democracy claims no monopoly, but is willing 
and anxious to share with our Republican and Popuhst 
friends the glory of achieving it by establishing per- 
manent white supremacy. There is work for us all and, 
in the language of Admiral Schley, glory enough to go 
around. If the Democratic party has seen with quicker, 
clearer vision the necessity for this Amendment than 
either of the other parties, the fact has grown out of 
environment and gives us no right to boast over those of 
our race belonging to other parties who seeing it now 
shall join with us in perfecting the good work. Let the 
adoption of the Amendment furnish us the occasion for 
a better understanding one with another, and while 
restoring to white men the rightful superiority which 
God gave them, let us in the assurance of better govern- 
ment learn, not toleration only, but respect as well for 
the views of those opposing us. In coming together for 
the common good we shall forget the asperities of past 
years and shall go forward into the twentieth century a 
united people, striving with zeal and in generous rivalry 
for the material, intellectual and moral upbuilding of 
the State. 

May the era of good feeling among us be the outcome 
of this contest. Then we shall learn, if we do not 
already know, that while universal suffrage is a failure 
universal justice is the perpetual decree of Almighty 



226 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

God, and that we are entrusted with power not for our 
good alone, but for the negro as well. We hold our 
title to power by the tenure of service to God, and if we 
fail to administer equal and exact justice to the negro 
whom we deprive of suffrage we shall in the fulness of 
time lose power ourselves, for we must know that the 
God who is Love trusts no people with authority for the 
purpose of enabling them to do injustice to the weak. 
We do well to rejoice in our strength and to take delight 
in our power, but we will do better still when we come 
fully to know that our right to rule has been transmitted 
to us by our fathers through centuries of toil and sacri- 
fice, suffering and death, and their work through all 
these centuries has been a striving to execute judgment 
in righteousness. That must likewise be our aim; that 
our labor. 

Can you wonder then, my friends, that I feel weighed 
down by the honor which you have done me? The 
task is great and I am weak. To be the first Governor 
of North Carolina under the new order in the State 
may bring honor, but it may bring the disgrace of failing 
rightly to interpret and adequately to express the high 
ideals and the noble purposes which I am certain thrill 
the hearts of North Carolinians as the sun of the 
twentieth century begins to brighten the eastern skies. 
The morning of the new century calls. There is work 
to be done — the old> old combat between freedom and 
force is even now upon us, and the mighty roar of traffic 
and industry cannot drown the tremendous din of that 
conflict. Our industries are to be multiplied, our com- 
merce increased. We are to have an educational 
awakening that shall reach every son and daughter of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 227 

North Carolina. We may not grow in numbers as 
rapidly as some other States, but we shall multiply 
many times the effective power of the State in the next 
ten years by the strength which comes from the wide 
diffusion of knowledge. 

It is my happiness to have been nominated by you for 
the Governorship of that State in which these things are 
to be done. I shall come to that great office, if elected, 
with an honest desire to serve faithfully and well. I 
shall have no enemies to punish and no private ends to 
gain. I shall be the servant of the whole people of the 
State. Are you rich and powerful? Then I shall meet 
you as your equal, for surely he who has garnered this 
harvest of hearts has a goodly heritage and possesses 
a power which only folly can dissipate. Are you poor? 
Still I am your equal, possessing no other riches than 
the love of my friends. I shall respect the rights of 
property and rejoice in prosperity, but I shall not for- 
get that they who toil constitute not only the largest 
class of our people, but from their labors can spare little 
time to urge their views upon those whom they have 
chosen to serve them. 



CHAPTER II 

THE IDEALS OF A NEW ERA 
(Inaugural Address as Governor of North Carolina, January 15, 190L) 

Gentlemen of the General Assembly, Ladies, and Fellow 
Citizens: 

EVERY four years brings us a change of admin- 
istration, but not always a change of policy. 
This year we meet under extraordinary circum- 
stances — one party goes out of power and another 
comes in; one policy ends and a new one begins; one 
century passes away and a new century claims our 
service; a new constitution greets the new century. 
For thirty years of the nineteenth century we struggled 
in every way against the evils of a suffrage based on 
manhood only. We found in the first days of that 
struggle that theory had outrun practice and reality 
had yielded place to sentiment. At that time we had 
just emerged from an unsuccessful and disastrous war. 
Our property had been swept away, our institutions had 
been destroyed, the foundation of our social fabric had 
been overturned — we were helpless. A victorious, 
but ungenerous, political enemy had crushed us to the 
earth; they had forced upon us the recognition of 
theories that we knew could not be reduced to success- 
ful practice. We were poor, weak and defeated. We 
*' accepted the situation." We did our best to prove 
the falsity of our convictions. We endeavored with 

228 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 229 

sincerity to bring the negroes to a realization of the 
true dignity of full citizenship. We urgently strove to 
instil into their minds that their true interests were 
likewise ours ; we sought with great solicitude and with 
much sacrifice of toil and capital to convince them that 
parties were the servants and not the masters of the 
people, and that no past services of a party, however 
beneficial these services might appear, justified the 
destruction of good and safe and economical govern- 
ment in order to secure its success. We provided schools 
for them and spent for them as we spent for our own 
children. We cared for their insane and opened schools 
for the education of their afflicted, and for the care and 
tuition of those w^ho were left fatherless and motherless. 
We continued these efforts in the face of repeated evi- 
dence of their hostility and abated not our purposes 
when they repeated their folhes. We still hoped that 
they would follow the example of the whites and divide 
their vote along the lines of governmental, industrial 
and moral issues. The result was a disappointment. 
The negro was always to be counted upon and our op- 
ponents did not hesitate at any excess, because they 
knew that they had 120,000 voters who could be relied 
upon to support any policy, however ruinous, which 
bore the stamp of Republicanism. With this vote as a 
certainty our adversaries when they came to power 
after twenty years of defeat dared new evils and wrongs. 
Under their rule, lawlessness stalked the State like a 
pestilence — death stalked abroad at noonday — • 
"sleep lay down armed" — the sound of the pistol was 
more frequent than the song of the mocking-bird — the 
screams of women fleeing from pursuing brutes closed 



230 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

the gates of our hearts with a shock. Our opponents 
unmindful of the sturdy determination of our people to 
have safe and good government at all hazards became 
indifferent to or incapable of enforcing law and pre- 
serving order. ConJBdent of the support of the ignorant 
mass of negro voters, the Republican party and its ally 
forgot the strength and determination of that people 
who fought the first fight at Alamance against bad 
government and wrote the first Declaration of Inde- 
pendence in Mecklenburg. They challenged North 
CaroHnians to combat and the world knows the result. 
The campaign of 1898 ended in a victory for good 
government. That was not a contest of passion, but of 
necessity. When we came to power we desired merely 
the security of life, liberty and property. We had seen 
all these menaced by 120,000 negro votes cast as the 
vote of one man. We had seen our chief city pass 
through blood and death in search of safety. We did 
not dislike the negro, but we did love good government. 
We knew that he was incapable of giving us that, and 
we resolved, not in anger, but for the safety of the 
State, to curtail his power. We had seen what a strug- 
gle it required to preserve even the form of Republican 
government with him as a voter. The negro was 
not only ignorant — he was clannish. The educated 
among them who realized the danger to the State in 
mass voting were unable to free themselves from the 
power of its ostracism. 

THE AMENDMENT 

When the Legislature of 1899 met, it was confronted 
with those facts and was sincerely anxious to save the 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 231 

good and suppress the evil of those forces which had 
made our history. They, therefore, submitted to the 
people for their action an Amendment to the Constitu- 
tion, which forbids any man to vote who cannot read 
and write, but excepts from the operation of this restric- 
tive clause all those who could vote in any State on 
January 1, 1867, or at any time prior thereto, or who are 
descended from any such voter. This provision ex- 
cludes no w^hite men except persons of foreign birth not 
yet familiar with our institutions, and excludes no negro 
who can read and write, and no negro whether he can 
read or write or not who could vote prior to January 1, 
1867, or who is descended from one who could vote at 
any time prior to that date. This Amendment to our 
Constitution eliminates no capable negro. Indeed it 
sets free those negroes who, believing in certain princi- 
ples of government, have been restrained by loyalty to 
the mass from voting their convictions. It does no 
injustice to the negro. It really benefits him. It does 
recognize the necessity of having some test of capacity, 
and it prescribes two rules of evidence by which the 
capacity may be ascertained and declares that any 
man capable of meeting either test shall vote. If a 
white man can read and write he can vote; if a negro 
can read and write he can vote. If a white man cannot 
read or write, but is descended from one who could vote 
on January 1, 1867, or at any time prior thereto, or if he 
could vote himself before that time, he can vote. If a 
negro cannot read and write, but is descended from a 
person who could vote on January 1, 1867, or at any 
time prior thereto, or if himself could vote before that 
time, he can vote. There is, therefore, in our Amend- 



232 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

ment no taint of that inequality provided against in the 
Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States; and in order that the question might not even be 
suggested, and realizing the importance of educating 
the white and black alike, our Amendment requires 
every boy of whatever color now thirteen years of 
age to learn to read and write under penalty of losing 
his vote. Interpreted in this fashion we may with 
complacency accept the declaration of the Republican 
national platform that our Amendment is revolution- 
ary. So was the war for independence distinctly known 
as the Revolution, and our liberties are founded upon it. 
Our Amendment may be revolutionary, but it is a 
revolution of advancement. It takes no step back- 
ward, it distinctly looks to the future; it sees the day of 
universal suffrage, but sees that day not in the obscu- 
rity of ignorance, but in the light of universal educa- 
tion. The twilight will grow into the perfect day with 
the sun of intelligence shining in the sky. That is 
our hope and promise. We shall not fail. 

On a himdred platforms, to half the voters of the 
State, in the late campaign, I pledged the State, its 
strength, its heart, its wealth, to universal education. 
I promised the illiterate poor man bound to a life of toil 
and struggle and poverty that life should be brighter for 
him and the partner of his sorrows and joys. I pledged 
the wealth of the State to the education of his children. 
Men of wealth, representatives of great corporations 
applauded eagerly my declaration. I then realized that 
the strong desire which dominated me for the uplifting 
of the whole people moved not only my heart, but was 
likewise the hope and aspiration of those upon whom 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 233 

fortune had smiled. I had loved the North Carolina 
people before that time, but I never knew and appre- 
ciated the best qualities of many of our citizens until 1 
saw the owners of many thousands as eager for the 
education of the whole people as I was myself. Then I 
knew that the hope and task before us, gentlemen of 
the Legislature, was not an impossible one. We are 
prospering as never before — our wealth increases, our 
industries multiply, our commerce extends, and among 
the owners of this wealth, this multiplying industry, 
this extending commerce, I have found no man who is 
unwilling to make the State stronger and better by 
liberal aid to the cause of education. 

EDUCATE ALL THE PEOPLE 

Gentlemen of the General Assembly, you will not 
have aught to fear when you make ample provision for 
the education of the whole people. Rich and poor alike 
are bound by promise and necessity to approve your 
utmost efforts in this direction. The platforms of all 
the parties declare in favor of a liberal policy toward 
the education of the masses; notably the Democratic 
platform says, "We heartily commend the action of the 
General Assembly of 1899 for appropriating one hun- 
dred thousand dollars for the benefit of the public 
schools of the State, and pledge ourselves to increase 
the school fund so as to make at least a four-months' 
term in each year in every school district in the State, " 
and in the campaign which was conducted throughout 
the State with so nmch energy and earnestness that 
platform pledge was made the basis of the promises 
which we all made to the people. Poor and unlettered 



234 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

men, anxious about the privileges of their children and 
hesitating to vote for the Amendment, were finally per- 
suaded to accept our promise and place their children 
in a position in which they can never vote unless the 
pledges which we made are redeemed to the fullest 
extent. For my part I declare to you that it shall be 
my constant aim and effort during the four years that I 
shall endeavor to serve the people of this State to re- 
deem this most solemn of all our pledges. If more 
taxes are required to carry out this promise to the 
people, more taxes must be levied. If property has 
escaped taxation heretofore which ought to have been 
taxed, means must be devised by which that property 
can be reached and put upon the tax list. I rejoice in 
prosperity and take delight in the material progress of 
the State. I would cripple no industry; I would retard 
the growth of no enterprise; but I would by just and 
equal laws require from every owner of property his just 
contribution, to the end that all the children may secure 
the right to select their servants. There are many 
important matters which will claim your attention. 
The problems before us are of the gravest nature, but 
among them all there is none that can approach in 
importance the necessity for making ample provision 
for the education of the whole people. 

Appropriations alone cannot remove illiteracy from 
our State. With the appropriations must come also an 
increased interest in this cause which shall not cease 
until every child can read and write. The preachers, 
the teachers, the newspapers and the mothers of North 
Carolina must be unceasing in their efforts to arouse 
the indifferent and compel by the force of public opinion 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 235 

the attendance of every child upon the schools. It is 
easier to accomplish this since the Amendment to our 
Constitution raises its solemn voice and declares that 
the child who arrives at age after 1908 cannot share in 
the glorious privilege of governing his State nor partici- 
pating in the policies of the nation unless he can read 
and write. This is, therefore, the opportune moment 
for a revival of educational interest throughout the 
length and breadth of the State. We shall not accom- 
pHsh this work in a day, nor can it be done by many 
speeches. It is a work of years, to be done day by day 
with a full realization of its importance, and with that 
anxious interest on our part which will stimulate the 
careless and will make all our people eager to attain 
the end which we seek. Our statesmen have always 
favored the education of the masses, but heretofore 
interest in the matter has not approached universality; 
henceforth in every home there will be the knowledge 
that no child can attain the true dignity of citizenship 
without learning at least to read and write. This 
simple fact alone justifies the adoption of the Amend- 
ment, for it was its passage that first brought home to 
all our people the necessity for universal education. 
We enter an era of industrial development. Growth 
in that direction is dependent upon intelligence — not 
the intelligence of the few, but of all. Massachusetts 
reahzed this fact from the day when the Pilgrim fathers 
landed on Plymouth Rock, and by that clear perception 
she has won wealth out of bleak coasts and sterile lands. 
Our forefathers acknowledged the same fact in their 
first constitution, and from that time to the present 
our Constitutions and Legislative acts have all looked 



236 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

toward this end; but the whole people have never 
before been awakened to its advocacy. From this 
time forth opposition to education will mark a man 
as opposed to the theory of our Government which is 
founded upon the consent of the governed, and our 
Constitution provides that this consent in the not 
distant future can be given only by those who can 
read and write. 

We need have nothing to fear, then, from any party 
or any politician when we make liberal provision for 
education. But if there were opposition, our duty 
would be none the less clear. It is demonstrable that 
wealth increases as the education of the people grows. 
Our industries will be benefited; our commerce will ex- 
pand; our railroads will do a larger business when we 
shall have educated all the children of the State. It is, 
therefore, of the utmost importance from a material 
point of view that our whole people should be educated. 
Care must be taken on your part, gentlemen of the 
Legislature, to bring the schools in the remotest dis- 
tricts up to the standard of the Constitution which 
solemnly admonishes you, as it did me but a moment 
ago when I took the oath to support it, that at least 
four months of school must be carried on in every 
school district in each year. Our party platform 
follows the Constitution and we cannot afford to 
violate either. If there are districts which are weak 
they must be strengthened by those who are strong. 
The Good Book tells us that the strong should bear 
the infirmities of the weak and the lessons of that 
great authority are of utility in our political life. There 
has grown up an idea among strenuous men that only 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 237 

the strong are to be considered and benefited; that 
the poor and weak are the burden-bearers who deserve 
no aid and are weak because of their folHes. A great 
State can never act on this theory, but will always 
recognize that the strong can care for themselves while 
the true aim of the State is to provide equal and just 
laws, giving to the weak opportunity to grow strong and 
restraining the powerful from oppressing the less fortu- 
nate. It will be a glorious day for us if our people in 
the hour of their prosperity and wonderful growth and 
development can realize that men can never grow 
higher and better by rising on the weakness and igno- 
rance of their fellows, but only by aiding their fellow- 
men and lifting them to the same high plane which they 
themselves occupy. It may require sacrifice to accom- 
plish the promises which we have made and men may be 
compelled to bear additional burdens, but I am per- 
suaded that the sacrifice will be made and the burdens 
borne with that cheerfulness which has ever character- 
ized us when we were doing a righteous thing. Our 
fathers have done well their work. They have sought 
this day through many diflficulties; illiterate or learned, 
they have ever striven to do their duty by the State, and 
they have laid her foundations so strong and deep that 
we have but to build thereon the splendid home which 
they saw only in anticipation. Let that home be bright 
with the shining of ten thousand lights emanating from 
as many schools. Some of these lights will shine 
but feebly, mayhap with but four-candlepower, while 
others shall shine with sixty -four and some few with the 
radiance of a thousand, but let them all shine together 
to brighten life and make the State more glorious, and 



238 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

may they all have as their source that God who first said 
"Let there be light." 

I pledge you, gentlemen of the Legislature, such 
power as the Constitution vests in the Governor and 
all the energy of my soul and heart to the education of 
the people, and rely with entire confidence upon you 
and the promises which each of you have made. 
With these promises kept there will break upon us a 
day such as has never before dawned upon our 
State. Our Government is founded upon intelligence 
and virtue. We shall provide for intelligence by a 
system of schools which is designed to reach every 
citizen. The schools look to the preparation of the 
voter for the use of the ballot. We admit to the elec- 
tive franchise every man capable of intelligently exer- 
cising that right and so anxious are we to approach as 
near as may be universal suffrage that we have made 
the test of intelligence simply ability to read and write, 
an accomplishment which can be acquired in a few 
months. 

VOTES MUST BE COUNTED 

Having thus provided for the right to vote, the 
further duty devolves upon you, gentlemen of the 
Legislature, to pass a law by which that right may be 
made effective, a law by which every voter qualified 
under our Constitution shall have the power to cast one 
vote and have that vote counted as cast. The safety 
of the State and the liberty of the citizens depend upon 
your action on this question. The adoption of the 
Amendment not only furnishes the occasion, but ren- 
ders indispensable the adoption of an election law which 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 239 

shall be so fair that no just man can oppose it, and 
requires an administration of that law in such spirit that 
no man will doubt that the popular will has been rightly 
expressed and recorded. From the foundation of our 
State to the day when the negro was given the elective 
franchise the fairness of our elections was never ques- 
tioned. WTien the ballot was given to the negro the 
first election thereafter was known to be a farce and a 
fraud. That election was held under military dictator- 
ship, lasted three days, and the vote was counted in 
Charleston, South Carolina. We have denounced, and 
ever will denounce, that election as fraudulent. When 
we came to power in 1876 we changed the election law 
of the State, and from that time down to 1894 all 
elections were held under laws passed by us. Our 
adversaries charged that these elections were carried by 
force and fraud. When they came to power in 1895 
they adopted a law which we denounced as providing 
means for the registration and voting of minors, dead, 
imported and convicted negroes. They carried the 
State under that law in 1896. We beat them in 1898 
despite their law, and then we passed a new election 
law, which they denounced as designed to thwart the 
will of the people. We held the election of 1900 under 
that law. By the result of that election we have elim- 
inated the ignorant negro from those entitled to vote. 
If what has been charged by the opposing parties be 
true and elections have been fraudulent and election 
laws unfair ever since the negro came to be a power in 
the State, it certainly ought to follow that with the dis- 
qualification of the ignorant negro the State should 
return to her ancient ways when no man questioned her 



240 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

integrity. Henceforth our laws and their administra- 
tion must be so fair that the civihzed world shall recog- 
nize the high purpose with which we have wrought to 
see this day. Let history record of us that we have 
fought our great fight and won our notable victory with 
no view to perpetuate ourselves in power, but honestly 
lo secure good goveriunent founded on intelligence 
worked out through a perfectly fair election law admin- 
istered as a sacred trust to be held forever inviolable. 
Good men go to war only for the sake of peace, and the 
patriotic citizens of our State have won this victory 
only for the sake of good government and not for party 
aggrandizement. 

WHERE SAFETY LIES 

On every platform in the late campaign I declared 
our purpose to be to secure good government, safety 
and peace, to educate all the children, and to bring 
about that day Avhen even extremest partisanship 
should not be able to cry out against our laws and our 
methods. Thousands of Republicans and Populists 
joined with us in securing our more than sixty thousand 
majority. I shall, therefore, confidently expect you, 
gentlemen of the Legislature, without regard to party, 
to frame an election law fair in every purpose, clear in 
every detail, and to provide machinery by which every 
man qualified under our Constitution shall be able to 
vote and shall know that his vote is effective. We can 
have safety, security and integrity on no other basis. I 
now pledge you the whole power of my administration 
to secure this end. I declared in my speech of accept- 
ance that I should enter upon the discharge of my 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 241 

duties if elected with great fear lest I should 
fail to interpret adequately the true spirit under- 
lying our change in the Constitution; but I have 
never for one moment questioned that the ultimate 
aim of our people was to secure a constitution under 
which security for life, liberty and property could 
be found under the forms of law and not in violation 
of them. 

IT MUST ENDURE 

Our opponents have denounced the movement which 
we inaugurated to amend the Constitution, and which 
will be carried out in the spirit just suggested, as 
revolutionary. They sought to prevent its success by 
threats before the election, and in the first moments of 
passionate disappointment after the election they be- 
gan prosecutions against certain ofl&cers of the State 
for alleged wrongdoing in connection with the August 
election. This movement of ours was carried out with 
such deliberate high purpose and such noble earnestness 
that thousands of our political opponents joined hands 
with us in effort to forever settle a question which had 
distressed us for thirty years. It was the uprising of 
almost an entire people. There was about it, indeed, 
in its spontaneousness, in its enthusiasm, in its deter- 
mination and sturdiness of purpose and its high aims, 
something of the revolutionary spirit of 1776. That 
spirit still lives in the hearts of North Carolinians. It 
is a part, and a glorious part, of their heritage — it can- 
not be destroyed by persecution. A whole people can- 
not be persecuted, nor will they without the utmost 
exertion see any of their agents made to suffer for the 



242 THE LITE AND SPEECHES 

defeat of those who sought in vain to stem the mighty 
tide of popular opinion. 

LAW MUST HAVE SWAY 

We have a great State, rich in noble manhood, richer 
still in her high-minded womanhood; a State with 
countless treasures awaiting seekers; with riches in her 
fields and woods, streams and sounds, hills and moun- 
tains, sufficient to satisfy our dreams of wealth; with a 
frugal and industrious population ready to toil just 
awakening fully to the possibilities before them. All 
that we need "to complete the circle of our felicities" is 
peace. Let hatred and bitterness and strife cease from 
among us. Let the law everywhere reign supreme. The 
highest test of a great people is obedience to law and a 
consequent ability to administer justice. It shall be 
the earnest aim of my administration to foster good 
feeling and to enforce law and order throughout the 
State — from Currituck to Cherokee the law must have 
full sway. The mob has no place in our civiHzation. 
The courts are the creation of the Constitution and the 
juries are drawn from the people. If changes be neces- 
sary in order to secure a better and more certain admin- 
istration of justice, you, gentlemen of the Legislature, 
can make these changes; but it should be distinctly and 
finally understood of all men that safety can be found 
only in obedience to law. 

I wish to say to the negroes of this State in 
this connection, that they have been misinformed 
if they have heard that this administration will be 
unfriendly to them. Their every right under the 
Constitution shall be absolutely preserved; they will 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 243 

find security in right conduct and certain punish- 
ment for failure to obey the law. Let them learn that 
crimes which lead to mob law must cease and then mob 
law shall curse our State no more. I call upon all 
upright negroes to aid me in suppressing crime in all its 
forms. The white people owe a high duty to the negro. 
It was necessary to the safety of the State to base 
suflPrage on capacity to exercise it wisely. This results 
in excluding a great number of negroes from the ballot, 
but their right to life, liberty, property and justice must 
be even more carefully safeguarded than ever. It is 
true that a superior race cannot submit to the rule of a 
weaker race without injury; it is also true in the long 
years of God that the strong cannot oppress the weak 
without destruction. I said on April 11, 1900, and I 
now repeat it as a deep conviction, that "universal 
justice is the perpetual decree of Almighty God, and 
we are entrusted with power not for our good alone, but 
for the negro as well. We hold our title to power by 
tenure of service to God, and if we fail to administer 
equal and exact justice to the negro whom we deprive of 
suffrage, we shall in the fulness of time lose power 
ourselves, for we must know that the God who is Love 
trusts no people with authority for the purpose of 
enabling them to do injustice to the w^eak." 

FREEDOM OF THOUGHT 

Let us serve the State in this spirit and with wisdom 
and the people will continue to trust us, but if we depart 
from this plain and just way, power will drop from our 
hands, for the Amendment has, I believe and trust, 
brought with it a freedom of thought, of criticism 



244 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

and of action that will be swift to withdraw a trust 
abused. 

state's high destiny 
With the education of the whole people, with a fair 
and impartial election law, with peace everywhere, there 
will be nothing to prevent us from working out the high 
destiny of our State. Thought will be set free, opinion 
can have its full sway and every man will be able to 
declare the inmost feelings of his heart. We shall have 
genuine free speech ; our newspapers will have an oppor- 
tunity to address themselves to molding public opinion 
without fear of injury to the State. Discussions can 
then take the place of abuse, and argument will supplant 
passionate oratory. In this new and freer day we shall 
grow brighter men. Trust in all things high will come 
easy to us. We shall have problems and differences, 
but we shall have the intelligence to solve the problems 
and the good spirit to harmonize our differences. 

■WITH AN HUMBLE HEART 

I come to the high task to which the people have 
called me with many misgivings. I know, if not ade- 
quately, something of my weakness, and I likewise 
know, if not to the fullest extent, the many diflB- 
culties which will beset my way. I come to the 
work humbly, with deep anxiety and with an earnest 
desire to serve the people well. The manner of my 
coming makes it all the more incumbent upon me 
to search my heart that I may have no impure 
motive there; one who has been trusted after such 
fashion as the people have trusted me owes the high- 
est obligation of uprightness in thought and action. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 245 

Chosen by my party unanimously, elected by the peo- 
ple by a majority such as has never been given to any 
other man, I am bound by every obligation to serve to 
my utmost. The task is a difficult one. I shall make 
mistakes. When I shall have done the right thing I 
shall even then sometimes be misunderstood by my 
friends, who will see my action not from my standpoint 
as the Governor of the whole people, but from theirs. 
When I shall have done wrong I shall not expect ap- 
proval; I do not wish it. I want to know my mistakes 
to the end that I may correct them, because I am cer- 
tain that I shall be judged at last by the whole tenor of 
my administration and by no one particular act. 

GOVERNOR OF ALL THE PEOPLE 

I have been elected as a Democrat. I shall adminis- 
ter the high office to which I have been called in accord- 
ance w^ith the policies and principles of that great party, 
but I wish it distinctly understood that I shall strive to 
be a just Governor of all the people, without regard to 
party, color or creed. The law will be enforced w^ith 
impartiality and no man's petition shall go unheard and 
unconsidered because he differs from me in politics or in 
color. My obligation is to the State and the State is all 
her citizens. No man is so high that the law shall not 
be enforced against him, and no man is so low that it 
shall not reach down to him to lift him up if may be 
and set him on his feet again and bid him Godspeed to 
better things. 

god's blessings on us 

I shall need the support of every citizen in the State. 
My work is your work; I am but your servant, and if I 



246 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

serve you wisely it will be because my ears shall be con- 
stantly open to counsel, and my mind shall know wis- 
dom. But with all the aid which can come from men, I 
shall fail unless I have the guidance of that God who 
rules the destinies of States and nations and men, to 
Whom with reverence I commend this good State and 
her gracious people. 



CHAPTER III 

A MESSAGE TO THE NEGRO 
(Address, opening the Negro State Fair, 1901.) 

IT AFFORDS me pleasure to open this fair. I 
wish the colored people of North Carolina to 
understand by every act and expression of 
mine that I am the Governor of the entire State and all 
its people, and that any interest which concerns any 
individual is a matter of importance to me. It has 
been gratifying to me that those to whom I have been 
opposed politically have recognized the real feeling 
which exists in my heart. In my duty as a servant of 
the State, it is of immense value that those of opposite 
political faith should feel that he who has been chosen 
to serve them is not the enemy of any person or of any 
race in the State. 

I have earnestly endeavored, since it has been my 
fortune to be the Governor of the State, so to conduct 
the high office to which I was chosen, as to develop the 
industrial, commercial and educational sides of our life, 
because in these we have heretofore been weakest. 
The North CaroHna people are in many respects a 
strong and great people. They love liberty and they 
are devoted to personal independence. They need no 
instructions along these lines. They have the courage 

247 



248 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of their convictions and are ever ready to assert their 
poHtical and individual rights. What we have needed 
and what we do need is instruction along industrial, 
commercial and educational lines, and I have been 
anxious to be an humble instrument in this work. 

The colored people of North Carolina are entitled to 
much credit for what they have done. At the close of 
the Civil War there were many who had grave appre- 
hension as to the conduct which would result from the 
freedom of the negro. I am glad to be able to state 
that that apprehension proved to be unfounded. Your 
conduct in the main has been admirable. You have 
surpassed expectations. You have been sober, law- 
abiding, and industrious. You have created more 
value in freedom than you did in slavery, and taken 
all in all, you deserve the thanks of the Common- 
wealth. 

But you will pardon me as one who is a friend of 
yours, for speaking to you to-day words which may 
seem unkind, but are in fact kind because truthful. 
There are many things in your freedom which you have 
neglected. There are many things yet for you to do. 
In glancing through the criminal statistics of the State, 
I find that while your race constitutes only one third of 
the population of North Carolina, you commit one half 
of the crimes. I am not unmindful of the fact that your 
race is poor and weak and without the influence of the 
dominant race, and that therefore, in proportion to 
actual crime committed, a few more are indicted than 
would be if you were rich and powerful and with the 
influences which tend to suppress indictments. But 
eliminating this unimportant factor, as one may well 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK tlV3 

du ill a just State like this, the proportion of crime in 
your race is startling and dangerous and ought to evoke 
your most earnest consideration. Before you can ever 
take your proper place in the world, you must learn first 
obedience to law. This ought to be with you a mat- 
ter of constant instruction in the home, in the school, 
in the church, on the highway, wherever two or more of 
you may gather, until it becomes a part of your very 
existence and grows into your nature. The great 
strength of the white man has been his love of his 
home, and the consequent love of thos^ industries which 
secure to him his home. It will be well for you and for 
your race when you shall have learned that your 
strength is founded up>on industry and economy and 
that your importance in the State will increase with 
your growing wealth. This fair, therefore, which to 
some extent, but inadequately, illustrates your indus- 
tries, is a matter of importance to the State. It shows 
what you have done and encourages you to do more. 

It may not be inappropriate for me upon this occasion 
to express to you the hope that recent events occurring 
in the nation may not unduly excite you, and that you 
will still remember that your best friends are those who 
live in your State. What you wish, what you need 
more than recognition by the President or other people 
in authority, is the establishment among yourselves of 
a society founded upon culture, intelligence and virtue, 
and in no wise dependent upon those of a different race. 
The law which separates you from the white people of 
the State socially always has been and always will be 
inexorable, and it need not concern you or me whether 
the law is violated elsewhere. It will never be violated 



250 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

in the South. Its violation would be to your destruc- 
tion as well as to the injury of the whites. 

No thoughtful, conservative, and upright Southerner 
has for your race aught but the kindest feelings, and we 
are all willing and anxious to see you grow into the 
highest citizenship of which you are capable, and we 
are williiig to give our energies and best thought to aid 
you in the great work necessary to make you what you 
are capable of, and to assist you in that elevation of 
character and of virtue which tends to the strengthen- 
ing of the State. But to do this it is absolutely neces- 
sary that each race should remain distinct, and have a 
society of its own. Inside of your own race you can 
grow as large and broad and high as God permits, with 
the aid, the sympathy, and the encouragement of your 
white neighbors. If you can equal the white race in 
achievement, in scholarship, in literature, in art, in 
industry, in commerce, you will find no generous- 
minded white man who will stand in your way; but all 
of them in the South will insist that you shall accom- 
plish this high end without social intermingling. And 
this is well for you; it is well for us; it is necessary for 
the peace of our section; it is essential to the education 
of your children that you shall accomplish this high end 
upon this point. 

I am sure that you agree with me in what I have said 
and in the spirit of one who is the Governor of the 
whole people without regard to race. I bid you God- 
speed in the great work of upbuilding our State, of 
multiplying her industries, of increasing her commerce, 
of educating all her children. I find no little encour- 
agement in the friendly cooperation of the men and 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 251 

women of your race in the task which we have under- 
taken to do, that of educ ting all the children, and I 
pray you that in this great work we shall not be re- 
tarded by misunderstandings. 

I now formally declare, with best wishes for your 
success, this fair open. 



CHAPTER IV 



IN DEFENCE OF HIS POLICIES AND HIS ADMINISTRATION 

(From Address Before the Democratic State Convention at Greens- 
boro, June 23, 1904.) 

SOMETHING moie than four years ago — to be 
perfectly accurate, on the 11th of April, 1900 — 
I accepted at the hands of the Democratic 
party the nomination for Governor of the State. On 
that occasion I made a speech to the united and demon- 
strative Democracy. To-day I come to another Demo- 
cratic convention to witness the selection of him who 
shall be my successor. I do not think it inappropriate 
upon this occasion to review the work which has been 
done in this State since that day in x\pril when you 
nominated me and my associates for ofhce. 

The memory of that day abides with me still. I 
recall distinctly the fine crowd — the sturdy and detei - 
mined and deeply enthusiastic, though calm, crowd of 
men whom I faced that day. They had met for a high 
purpose. They had grown weary through the years of 
the struggle for good government. They were sick at 
heart with the makeshifts to which we had been com- 
pelled to resort in order to free the State from the dan- 
ger of being controlled by an ignorant mass, voting as 
one man. They were calmly resolute in their deter- 

252 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 253 

mination once for all to put an end to these conditions 
and begin a new day. 

I remember my greatest fear then was — and I so 
expressed it — that I should be unable rightly to 
interpret and adequately to express the high ideals and 
noble purposes which thrilled the hearts of North 
Carolinians at that hour. That fear still abides with 
me. I can merely say that I have honestly endeavored 
day by day to realize that the men then assembled 
were willing to make any sacrifice in order to secure the 
boon of good government. 

That I have fallen short of their expectations I know. 
That I have failed to keep my own ideals I am certain, 
but the work which I have done was undertaken in the 
calm confidence that your generosity would forgive the 
shortcomings and your kindness approve in terms too 
strong the little that I might accomplish. 

In speaking of the work of the past administration 
I shall frequently use the personal pronoun "I" — not 
from any desire to appropriate the work done, nor I 
trust from any source of vanity, but because of con- 
venience of expression. I wish to say in the beginning 
that the work has not been mine. Whatever good has 
been accomplished has had the whole body of the peo- 
ple behind it and has had to execute it the united force 
of the able, honorable, conscientious men with whom I 
have the honor to be associated. 

The closing paragraph of the speech which I made to 
the convention which nominated me was as follows: 
"I shall respect the rights of property and rejoice in 
in*osperity, but I shall not forget that they who toil, 
constitute not only the largest class of our people, but 



254 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

from their labors can spare little time to urge their views 
upon those that they have chosen to serve them. " 

That paragraph I conceive to represent clearly, if not 
adequately, the duty of the public servant in a repre- 
sentative Democracy. This administration has sought 
to live up to that declaration. . . . 

REASONS FOR EMPHASIZING PUBLIC EDUCATION 

Coming into oflfice at a new period, when our Con- 
stitution had been amended in such fashion that after 
1908 no person then coming of age could vote unless he 
could read and write, my mind has naturally been 
much occupied with this all-important question. As 
one should do who is charged with the enforcement of 
the law, I turned for guidance to that document, the 
product of the great thoughts of your fathers and mine 
— the Constitution of North Carolina, and I read 
there — '* Religion, morality, and knowledge being 
necessary to good government and the happiness of 
mankind, schools and the means of education shall 
forever be encouraged." I read again and found 
"That the people have a right to the privilege of edu- 
cation and it is the duty of the State to guard and 
maintain that right. '* 

I have earnestly endeavored, with the cooperation of 
my associates, to carry out these high provisions of our 
Constitution. I believe with Thomas Jefferson that 
** intelligence should ever preach against ignorance 
as the enemy of liberty and of moral and material 
progress." 

Believing this, pledged to it by the platform upon 
which I ran, committed to it from my early boyhood, I 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 255 

have spent the greater part of my time since I have 
been Governor in proclaiming this doctrine and urging 
upon the people the importance of universal education. 
I have not stood alone in this work. I did not originate 
it. I cannot even claim the credit of ha\'ing ade- 
quately presented it. 

The doctrine set out in our Constitution and advo- 
cated by Thomas Jefferson was held in this State in her 
darkest hour, in the midst of war, when every man was 
needed at the front and every dollar that could be raised 
was necessary for the equipment of ^ur army. It was 
the immortal Vance who declared in a message to the 
Legislature that "the common schools should surely be 
kept going at every cost and if sufficient inducements 
cannot be offered to disabled soldiers and educated 
women to take hold of them, the necessary males 
should be exempted from military service. " 

Calvin H. Wiley, founder of our pubHc school system 
and the most eloquent advocate of it, in the very midst 
of that great clash of arms when darkness began to 
lower over the Southern cause, declared that "The 
crowning glory of North Carolina will be found to be 
that when every nerve and muscle of the country were 
wrought to the highest tension in a terrible and unex- 
ampled struggle for existence and independence, she 
still supported a vigorous and beneficent system of free 
and public schools which were attended by 50,000 of the 
children of her patriotic citizens." 

From that day to this, the patriotic citizens of this 
State have been struggling to reach the fulfilment of 
that pledge of our Constitution which requires theLegis- 
lature to provide for at least four months of public 



256 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

schools in every district in the State. Too long deferred, 
to the grievous injury of the State, her peace, her pros- 
perity, and happiness, we have under this administration 
successfully met this requirement. 

The patriotic legislatures chosen by the people have 
made provision for it, and the executive officers, under 
the lead of our admirable Superintendent of Public 
Instruction, have carried the provisions of the law into 
effect. To-day we can boast for the first time in the 
history of the State that we have redeemed our pledge, 
kept faith with the people, and made provision for all 
the children. If the child is blind, we have teachers 
ready to open his eyes. If he is deaf, he can be taught 
to speak. If he is friendless and poor, the schoolhouse 
door stands wide open to shed its genial warmth upon 
him. . . . 

Tp do these things has cost much money, and to 
raise money in North Carolina by taxation has ever 
been a matter liable to cause offense. None of us pays 
taxes cheerfully or graciously. . . . This adminis- 
tration has spent much money and it is glad of it. 
There was need for expenditure of money. There was 
a demand for it, and we have met it. It undoubtedly 
appears cheaper to neglect the aged, the feeble, the 
infirm, the defective, to forget the children of this 
generation, but the man who does it is cursed of God, 
and the vState that permits it is certain of destruction. 
There are people on the face of the earth who take no 
care of the weak and infirm, who care nought for, their 
children and provide only for the gratification of their 
own desires, but these people neither wear clothes nor 
dwell in houses. They leave God out of consideration 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 257 

in their estimate of life, and are known to us as sav- 
ages. 

The Republican party in their platform expressly 
declare themselves in favor of the education of the 
masses; in favor of generous public aid to all charitable 
institutions of the State and the enactment of pension 
laws more liberal and just to the old Confederate 
soldier. If they do favor these things, then they must 
vote the Democratic ticket this year, for what they 
favor, we have already accomplished and so far from 
being satisfied with our work, ^\'e stand ready to obey 
the command ''that w^e go forward." . . . 

DEMAND FOR PEACE BET^VEEN THE RACES 

When I was elected Governor it was after the revo- 
lution of 1898. It was in the same campaign in which 
we advocated and adopted the Amendment to the Con- 
stitution. These tw^o campaigns were the occasion of 
much bitterness. They gave rise to intense passion. 
They set the two races in the State in fearful antago- 
nism. The adoption of the Amendment was a cause of 
great anxiety to our colored citizens. Their disfran- 
chisement was to them a matter of grievous import, 
which made them feel that they w^ere something less 
than citizens and in a large measure cut them off from 
hope. I, in common with most of the thoughtful 
citizens of the State, realized this feeling of theirs. We 
had made the fight for the Amendment in no enmity to 
the negro, but for the sake of good government, peace 
and prosperity. When the fight had been won, I felt 
that the time had come when the negro should be 
taught to realize that w^hile he would not be permitted 
to govern the State, his rights should be held the more 



258 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

sacred by reason of his weakness. I knew that our own 
passions had been aroused and that we were in danger 
of going too far. I realized to the fullest the peril of 
antagonizing the dominant and prevailing thought in 
the State, and yet I believed that the people who had 
chosen me Governor did so in the hope that I would be 
brave enough to sacrifice my own popularity — my 
future if need be — to the speaking of the rightful 
word and the doing of the generous act. I have there- 
fore everywhere maintained the duty of the State to 
educate the negro. I have proclaimed this doctrine in 
many places and in doing so I have frequently met the 
condemnation of friends whose good opinion I esteem 
and whose loyalty in the past I appreciate; but, holding 
my views, I could not have been worthy of the con- 
fidence of the great people of this State if I had con- 
tented myself to remain silent. My position has 
brought satisfaction and even happiness to many hum- 
ble homes in North Carolina, and the negro, whose 
political control I have fought with so much earnest- 
ness, has turned to me with gratitude for my support 
of his right to a public school education. 

The Amendment drove many of them out of the 
State. An effort to reduce their public schools would 
send thousands more of them away from us. In this 
hour, when our industrial development demands more 
labor and not less, it becomes of the utmost importance 
that we shall make no mistake in dealing with that race 
which does a very large part of the work, of actual hard 
labor in the State. I appeal to the generous high- 
minded North Carolinians to realize that we are con- 
fronted with a condition which demands statesmanship 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 259 

and not passion and prejudice. While holding these 
views, it is needful for me to say that I have recognized 
that, heretofore, much injustice has in many instances 
been done to the whites in that in the same county 
schools were frequently maintained for six or seven 
months for the colored in certain districts and for only 
two or three months for the whites in other districts. 
It has been the aim of this administration to correct 
this inequality and to see to it that provision was made 
for the whites which should certainly be equal to that 
made for negroes. This has been done without any 
Constitutional Amendment, but under the plain pro- 
visions of our law. It may be of interest to you to 
know in this connection the facts about the expenditure 
of money for the public schools from 1883 to 1903. In 
1883 there was spent for the schools for whites 
$306,805.55; for colored $260,955.87. There was spent 
$1.04 per capita for white children and $1.50 per capita 
for colored children — a difference of 48 cents in favor 
of the negro. . . . For 1903 there was spent for 
the education of the white children $865,700.17 and for 
the education of colored children $252,820.54; per 
capita expenditure of $1.89 for whites and $1.14 for the 
colored; a difference in favor of the whites of 75 cents 
per capita. These are the facts and they speak for 
themselves. 

The danger which I have apprehended is not that we 
shall do too much for the negro, but that becoming 
unmindful of our duty to him we shall do too little. 
Having taken from him the power to vote, it becomes a 
strong people to safeguard with the utmost care every 
right which the negro has. " We hold our title to power 



260 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

by tenure of service to God, " and we can never hope to 
win His approval if we do injustice to the weak. Let us 
cast away all fear of rivalry with the negro, all appre- 
hension that he shall ever overtake us in the race of life. 
We are the thoroughbreds and should have no fear of 
winning the race against a commoner stock. 

ADVANCED TEMPERANCE LEGISLATION 

The problem of dealing with the liquor traffic is 
admittedly the most difficult one which confronts the 
Government. It has to deal with the appetites of men, 
and in a free government, where the people rule, any 
legislation tending to check the manufacture and sale 
of liquor is compelled to run counter to the great princi- 
ple of non-interference with the personal habits of the 
individual. A Democratic government therefore is 
always loath to deal with this problem and never does so 
except when public opinion has reached the point at 
which it becomes necessary to put that public opinion 
into legislation. The last Legislature, guided by this 
rule and fully recognizing its obligation w ithin the limits 
of the Constitution to respond to popular demand, 
adopted what is known as the Watts law. That statute 
has met with much criticism and much praise. It 
proceeded along lines well established in this State. 
For more than twenty years each succeeding Legisla- 
ture has adopted a bill prohibiting the manufacture and 
sale of liquor within a given number of miles of various 
churches and schoolhouses. The number of such places 
in which the manufacture and sale of liquor has here- 
tofore been prohibited runs up into the thousands. It 
is perhaps not too much to say that by means of these 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 261 

various acts, liquor could neither be manufactured nor 
sold in nine tenths of the territory of the State. I recall 
one whole county that was made a prohibition county 
by the simple device of prohibiting the manufacture and 
sale of liquor within a certain number of miles of the 
various churches and schoolhouses in the county. The 
Legislature of 1903, finding nine tenths of the territory 
of the State "dry, " decided to take direct steps to drive 
the manufacture and sale of liquor out of the State 
except in incorporated towns, readily concluding that 
what nine tenths of the State already enjoyed and 
demanded, was good for the other tenth. It wisely 
considered that the appetites of men not being under 
the control of legislation, they would obtain liquor to a 
more or less extent. It therefore provided that liquor 
could be manufactured and sold in the towns, but that 
even here it could only be done by permission of the 
people of the towns. The main reason, however, for 
the passage of the Watts law, and the reason which 
ought to satisfy and will finally satisfy every right 
thinking man, was that the manufacture and sale of 
liquor in the country was a constant menace to the 
peace, quiet and good order of the country. The 
towns and cities maintain a pohce force and thus are 
enabled to restrain and lessen the evils flowing from 
drunkenness. There is no police force in the country 
and the State is not prepared to maintain one. There 
is no greater menace to the quiet and good order of any 
country than a whiskev still and a barroom. No man 
will deny this. 

We have entered upon an educational awakening in 
this State which is seeking not only to open the door of 



262 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

the schoolhouse to every child, but to persuade and 
influence every child to enter that schoolhouse. There 
are men who have seen such a school flourish in a town 
close by a barroom or a still, but no man has ever yet 
seen a school grow up and prosper by the side of a 
whiskey still or a barroom in the country. The Legis- 
lature therefore was confronted with the question 
whether they should open and maintain schoolhouses 
in the country for children, or whiskey stills and bars 
for the men. The Legislature made its choice and the 
people will ratify it at the polls. In my judgment this 
act is one of the best ever passed by any Legislature. 
The conditions justified it. The demands of the people 
required it and the results have proven beneficial. 
With the passing of the years it will be found to have 
been a most effective agency in the cause of temper- 
ance. . . . 

HOW FREEDOM FROM THE RACE ISSUE PROMOTED 
LIBERTY 

I declared in my speech of acceptance that with the 
adoption of the Constitutional Amendment, "We will 
have peace in the land. " "There will be rest, " I said, 
"from political bitterness and race antagonism. Indus- 
try will have a great outburst. We shall have intel- 
lectual freedom. Public questions will stand or fall in 
the court of reason and not of passion. We shall forget 
the asperities of those years and shall go forward into 
the twentieth century a united people, striving in zeal 
and in generous rivalry for the material, intellectual and 
moral upbuilding of the State. May an era of good 
feeling among us be the outcome of this contest." 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 263 

There are those among us who fear that these pre- 
dictions have not been fulfilled. These doubters are 
looking upon the surface of things. They do not look 
at the great underlying truth. They declare that bit- 
terness is more rife than ever before; that the era of 
good feehng has not come; that criticism is more severe 
than ever; that freedom of speech is not permissible. 
They have mistaken appearance for fact. There is 
bitterness between individuals. There is strife and 
enmity between some people. There is, of course, a 
reckless criticism. Our people had been so long re- 
strained by the necessity of staying united in order to 
face the danger of negro control of the State that when 
they first gained their freedom under the Constitutional 
Amendment they naturally felt called upon to exhibit 
their freedom from restraint by frequent and often 
undue criticism. Newspapers, which would in the old 
days have unhesitatingly sustained my administration 
at every point, have criticised it with much severity 
and sometimes, as I think, wdth much injustice. 
Speeches and publications which heretofore would have 
attracted universal approval or universal condemna- 
tion, according to the side which they were on, have 
met with a divided support and a divided criticism. 
Controversies have grown large about small things. 
Personalities have frequently taken the place of the 
discussion of great problems. All of these things have 
been done in assertion of our new-born freedom. They 
are ever the first fruits of liberty of speech. They 
mark the beginning of real liberty, which will here- 
after be restrained by judgment. They show that the 
minds of our people are active; that they are alert 



264 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

even in fault-finding. They can be destructionists, but 
this is the beginning of the constructive power as well. 
If we pull down now, we shall build hereafter. If we 
criticise now, we shall in the future learn that effective 
criticism is that only which is based on fact, and then 
only to be indulged in for the correction of evil and 
for the purpose of turning men toward better things. 
This bitterness and this strife has not reached the great 
body of the people. They have gone about their work 
undisturbed by fault-finding and the asperities of dis- 
cussion. They have found in industry the best outlet 
for their superabundance of energy and they are bring- 
ing to pass a wonderful day in this State. 

A GREAT INDUSTRIAL AWAKENING 

Truly, as I predicted, there has been a great out- 
burst of industry. At the time of the taking of the 
census in 1900 there were 177 cotton mills in this State. 
Since then 89 more have been erected. In 1909 these 
mills had 1,133,432 spindles; since then 863,206 more 
have been put in. In 1900 there were 25,469 looms; 
since then 21,001 looms have been added. In 1900 
there was invested in cotton mills in this State 
$25,840,465; since then $18,260,000 have been added to 
the investment. We have added 50 per cent, to our 
number of mills; 75 per cent, to our number of spindles; 
84 per cent, to our number of looms; 75 per cent, to the 
capital invested. The number of employees in the cot- 
ton and woolen mills increased from 38,637 in 1900 to 
50,324 in 1903 — a tine thing in this, that the increase 
shows 4,000 more men than women. 

For the three years of 1897, 1898 and 1899, 510 cor- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 2G5 

porations were formed in the State. For the years 
1901, 190^2 and 1903, 1,276 were added. For the first 
three years tlie 510 cor})orations were cnpitahzed at 
$b2,9 13,080. For llie last three years the 1,276 corpo- 
rations were capitahzed at $100,341,850. These figures 
ahnost pass behef, but they are a simple presen- 
tation of the real facts of the business revival in this 
State. 

Other industries, notably the manufacture of furni- 
ture and other articles of wood, have fully kept pace, 
if not outstript that of cotton manufacturing. Agri- 
culture has had a wonderful growth. Cotton has again 
become king. Large portions of the east have been 
converted into market gardens for the populous cities 
of the North. A negro tenant in my county of Wayne 
recently declared that he had made $3,600 on straw- 
berries, after paying liis rents, and then added, "You 
see I couldn't afford to be Guv'ner." 

A gentleman writing to me recently from New Bern, 
opposing the lease of the iVtlantic & North Carolina 
Railroad, declares that a new day has dawned in that 
section; that men feel secure in their property, safe in 
their business, and have therefore turned their attention 
to business and that the whole eastern section will soon 
become a garden out of which the Atlantic & North 
Carolina Railroad will grow rich. This feeling of 
security covers the State. This wonderful investment 
of capital in large business enterprises, with a full 
knowledge of our laws, of our assessments, of our needs, 
of our purposes to care for the weak and afflicted, and to 
educate the young — proves conclusively that the lousi- 
ness men of North Carolina realize the benefit of good 



266 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

government and the profit to be found in an educated 
eople. 
In view of all these facts I cordially invite every 
North Carolinian to become a Democrat. There are 
those who say that we ought to have two parties in the 
State. The time may come when this will be true. 
It will certainly come if the party in power proves 
unfaithful to its trust and becomes corrupt or ineffi- 
cient; but for the present — with an honest and coura- 
geous administration of the laws, with a constant 
thought for the needs of the weak, with a due respect 
to the rights of the strong, with an earnest endeavor to 
serve all to the uplifting of the whole State — the 
Democratic party is alone sufficient. We need a united 
people. We need the combined effort of every North 
Carolinian. We need the strength which comes from 
believing alike. But I am no advocate of compelling 
belief. I would not check freedom of speech. I 
would set no limit to the utterances of the press, save 
the limit which the law always sets, that of speaking the 
truth. But, having spoken the truth, having printed 
the truth, I would have all our people to believe in the 
possibilities of North Carolina; in the strength of her 
men; the purity of her women, and their power to 
accomplish as much as can be done anywhere on earth 
by any people. I would have them to become dis- 
satisfied with small things; to be anxious for higher and 
better things; to yearn after real greatness; to seek after 
knowledge; to do the right thing in order that they may 
be what they ought. I would have the strong to bear 
the burdens of the weak and to lift up the weak and 
make them strong, teaching men everywhere that real 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 267 

strength consists not in serving ourselves, but in doing 
for others. 

I see the day coming when this State shall sit down 
at the common table of the Union an equal sister with 
all the others gathered there — equal in wealth, equal 
in high performance, equal in noble ideals. Nothing 
short of this ought to satisfy us, and to attain this let us 
ever hope. 

I thank you, gentlemen of the convention, for the 
courtesy you have extended me in permitting me to say 
these things. I know that the choice which you shall 
make to-day will be a worthy one. The State will be 
in good hands and I shall return to the life of a private 
citizen, forever grateful to the people of this State for 
the honor which they have done me and for the con- 
siderate courtesy which they have ever shown me. 



CHAPTER V 

THE SOUTH AND THE UNION 

(Speech at Charleston Exposition on "President's Day," 
April 9th, 1902 

GOVERNOR AYCOCK'S speech at the Charles- 
ton Exposition in 1902 was notable for its own 
sake, but even more notable because of the 
circumstances under which it was delivered. Several 
persons who were present have written of the incident, 
but perhaps the best account is that given by Mr. J. D. 
Bullock, Leechville, N. C. His letter follows: 

"I take pleasure and pride in calling your attention 
to an occasion when I believe ex-Governor Aj^cock 
showed what manner of man he was in the most im- 
pressive and thrilling way, and with such brave and 
forceful language, as to electrify the vast audience who 
heard him. I refer to the opening sentences of his 
speech in the Auditorium at the Charleston Exposition, 
April 9, 190;^. You will recall that this was the oc- 
casion of the visit of Col. Theodore Roosevelt, who was 
at that time President of the United States. The Pres- 
ident presented to Captain Jenkins of South Carolina, 
a sword, and in the exchange of flattering compliments 
following, the 'Mason-Dixon line' was being rapidly 
erased from the map of the minds of those present. 
Governor McSweeney of South Carolina opened up for 
a regular ' love feast,' declaring that he 'thanked God 
there was now, no North, nor Soutli, no East, no West,' 
and proceeded along the line of forgetful ness of the 
past and apology for ever having even thought dif- 

268 



OF CHARLES 13. AYCOCK ^269 

ferently from our Northern brethren about the Civil 
War. When Governor Aycock rose to speak, the vast 
audience expected he would follow along the lines set 
forth by the President and the Governor of South Caro- 
lina. But not so. Facing the sea of faces that rose 
tier upon tier before liim, he turned and looked over 
the crowded Auditorium, and after a word of greeting, 
said, in that wonderful vein and manner that has so 
often moved the hearts and minds of men: 'There is a 
South, and a glorious South, and we are not ashamed of 
what our fathers wrought in the days from '61 to '65.' 

"Nothing I could write would convey the effect of 
these brave and loyal words, spoken in such an ir- 
resistible way. upon the assembled multitude. The 
visitors from the North Jmew it wa.s true and appre- 
ciated it, and all of us from this same old 'Glorious 
South' knew it was true and gloried in it. The roof 
of the building stayed on, but we put in motion waves 
that were felt all over the country by our cheers and 
appreciation. The Charleston News and Courier on 
the day following, contained a description of this scene, 
and by referring to their files a good account of this 
incident can be secured which will be more in detail 
than I can give in my letter, as I write from memory. 
Not ashamed, not afraid to do right — ah ! if we could 
only follow the example of this friend of North Carolina, 
how much better and nobler our lives would be." 

GOVERNOR AYCOCK's SPEECH 
(As reported in the Charleston News and Courier, April 10, 1902.) 
" Mr. President : I thought that we were in Charles- 
Ion, S. C, but this warm welcome gives me the impres- 
sion that we are in Goldsboro, N. C. But then it does 
not make any difference whether it is North or South 
Carolina, it is Carolina. I was not aware, Mr. IVes- 
ident, that I should be expected to say anytliing to- 
day, nor did I know that it was fitting that I should, 



270 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

until I reflected that in the early days all of these two 
great States constituted Carolina, and it takes them 
both to extend to the President of the United States 
the welcome to which he is entitled. (Applause.) 
There is a very fine and high sense in which, as my dis- 
tinguished friend, the Governor of South Carolina 
said, that there is no North and no South, and yet there 
is another finer sense in which I am glad to say to-day 
that there is a South. (Applause.) When I glance 
over the magnificent Exposition which has been made 
here through the industries of these people, stricken as 
they had been by four years of disastrous war; when I 
see the mighty work that the men and the women of 
this section of our common country have done, I say 
there is a South, and a glorious South. (Applause.) 
And then, too, when I reflect upon the history of this 
country of ours and recall the glorious deeds of the no- 
ble people of this State when they were struggling with 
British tyranny, when, under the leadership of that 
great Revolutionary soldier, under that of Marion and 
others, I am glad to say that there is a South, and that 
in the number there is no truer and better State than 
South Carolina. (Applause.) Nor am I ashamed of 
the mighty deeds which you wrought from '61 to '65. 
(Applause.) I shall forever defend those men and 
women, and I must do so in order to justify the splen- 
did courage of the President of the United States. 
(Applause.) They were a great folk. Sturdy, deter- 
mined, hot-blooded maybe, but their blood stayed hot 
through four years. Your hot-blooded man cools under 
less than four years of suffering. But it took from 
Bethel to Appomattox to cool the blood of these South- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 271 

ern people. They were tired of fighting against their 
brethren, but they had just gotten themselves into good 
training for fighting the greatest battles of life. And 
so I say that I have ceased to talk about the fact that 
we are in the Union, for we never got out. (Ap- 
plause.) And if there be any State — in the Philip- 
pines or elsewhere — that wants to secede, we will 
teach them that they can't get out." (Applause.) 

President Roosevelt applauding: "You are all 
right. Governor." 

"Mr. President, the old negro illustrated the Southern 
feeling when he said: 'You need not be talking about 
these Southern people being prodigal sons. If they were, 
they were like the fellow that walked in and said : " Look 
here, where's that veal?" ' No fatted-calf for the peni- 
tent sons of the South. It is our Union made after the 
splendid hearts and the glorious minds of Revolution- 
ary heroes, wrought out with loss of blood and treasure 
and death and suffering; sustained through fifty years 
of a glorious peace, and made stronger in the blood shed 
on both sides of Mason and Dixon's line. It is our Union. 
As our Union I come in the name of the sister State of 
North Carolina to extend cordial greeting and welcome 
to our President. (Applause.) And I may say for the 
President that I know that he is happier that he may be 
President of a people who are proud of their history, 
than he would be to be President of a people who were 
ashamed of it. (Applause.) And so, in the name of 
all the manhood, and in the name of that better portion 
of our population, the splendid women — than which 
there is no greater — of North and South Carolina, I 
bid you welcome." (Continued applause.) 



CHAPTER VI 



THE GENIUS OF NORTH CAROLINA INTERPRETED 

(Address, welcoming visiting Sons of North Carolina, at Greensboro. 
N. C, Reunion, October, 12, 1903.) 

THIS State of your nativity is worthy of your 
love. Her history is such as to justify your 
pride in her. Her achievements compare with 
those of any other State, and make her sons, wherever 
they be, proud to be known as North CaroHnians. 

She was the first of the colonies to be settled, and, 
although that settlement was not successful, it is a 
source of gratification that it was made under the 
patronage of the soldier, navigator, scholar, statesman, 
and martyr. Sir Walter Raleigh. 

On her soil the first white child born of English par- 
entage came to bless the Western World. 

Here liberty had its birth, and here it rejoices in its 
fullest beauty. North Carolina was settled by men 
who found the liberty of other colonies and States short 
of their desires. English, Virginians, French, New 
Englanders, Swiss, Germans, Huguenots, Scotch, 
Irish — of whatever nationality they might be, they 
sought this land in order thai I hey might found a vState 
which sliould be a fit home for "tlie freest of the free." 
"They were imbued with a passion for liberty," says 

272 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 273 

Bancroft; and in their earliest days they secured for 
themselves and transmitted to us both "liberty of 
conscience and of conduct." "With absolute freedom 
of conscience, benevolent reason was the simple rule of 
their conduct." "They were tender and open," gentle 
to the weak, and fierce only against tyranny. They 
were led to the choice of their residence from the hatred 
of restraint, and "lost themselves in the woods in 
search of independence." "Are there any who doubt 
man's capacity for self-government.^" says Bancroft; 
"let them study the history of North Carohna. Its 
inhabitants were restless and turbulent in their imper- 
fect submission to a government imposed on them from 
abroad. The administration of the colony was firm, 
humane, and tranquil wlien they were left to take care 
of themselves. Any government but one of their own 
institution was oppressive. " Living far removed from 
contact with the government which sought to rule 
them, freed from the blandishments of power, "disci- 
plined in frugality, and patient of toil, " it is no wonder 
that our North Carolina ancestors resisted to the ut- 
most tyranny of provincial and colonial rule. They 
were in constant warfare with their governors, and 
repeatedly turned them out of the province. 

When the struggle with Great Britain came, North 
Carolina was in the front. . . . 

It can occasion no surprise then when we are told by 
Mr. Bancroft that "the first voice for dissolving all 
connection with Great Britain came, not from the Puri- 
tans of New England, the Dutch of New York, or the 
planters of Virginia, but from the Scotch Presbyterians 
of North Carolina." 



274 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

It was another great day for liberty when the patriots 
of this State, on the twenty-seventh of February, 1776, 
gained the signal victory at Moore's Creek over the 
Tories who were seeking to unite their forces with those 
of Sir Henry Clinton. The result of that early victory 
for American arms broke the backbone of Toryism, 
and gave to the patriots a zeal and confidence which 
stood them in stead in the darkest hours of the war for 
independence. 

It was your ancestors again who, in conjunction 
with their neighbors, won the great victory at King's 
Mountain. 

It was your ancestors who, in this very county, fought 
the great fight of Guilford Courthouse, and, while 
suffering a defeat, so crippled Cornwallis that he was 
compelled to yield his sword to Washington at York- 
town. 

When she had won her independence. North Caro- 
lina set such store by it that she declined to join the 
American Union until the sovereignty of the State and 
the liberty of the individual had been provided for by 
the proposal of the first ten amendments to the Consti- 
tution of the United States. But, once in the Union, 
this State loved it. The government was one of our 
own formation, and our people have ever been willing 
to yield obedience to the laws of their own enactment. 
Even when the people thought the Constitution had 
been violated, and their rights infringed, their love for 
the Union was so great that with singular unanimity 
they determined to remain in it, and secure, if possible, 
under the stars and stripes that protection to which 
they felt themselves entitled. But when the other 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 275 

Southern States went out of the Union, and we were 
brought face to face with the necessity of taking sides, 
then our people in convention assembled, without a 
single dissenting vote, went out of the Union, and 
sought at every cost to secure again that independence 
which our fathers had won. 

Late in going out, this State offered the first life on 
the altar of the Southern Confederacy. Having made 
up her mind to fight for independence, she sent to the 
front more soldiers than there were voters within her 
borders. She lost more men in killed and wounded 
than any other Southern State; charged farthest at 
Gettysburg; laid down the greatest number of guns at 
Appomattox, and quit the fight with as deep regret as 
any of her sisters. I care not on which side one fought 
in that great contest; the achievements of North 
Carolina soldiers were too great to excite bitterness in 
any breast that loves heroic sacrifice and daring deeds. 
Her men won for humanity a still higher place for 
stubborn courage than had heretofore been gained. 
They went into the fight reluctantly, because of their 
deep love for the Union which their fathers had ce- 
mented with their blood. They went to the front well 
clothed, well fed, in high spirits, certain of success. 
They left at the end in tatters and rags, footsore and 
hungry, but their tears watered the ground where the 
greatest leader of soldiers, the highest type of Christian 
manhood, the purest and truest and the best of men. 
General Robert E. Lee, surrendered his sword. 

They came back to the State weary, worn, and 
sorro^^ul. They found the population depleted. 
Their farms had gone to ruin, their fences were down, 



276 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

their ditches were filled, their stock were slaughtered, 
in too many instances their houses were burned. But 
they did not sit down in the desolation of their despair. 
With a courage wortliy of the great men who fought 
during the Revolution, they turned their faces to the 
morning, put their trust in God, and resolutely deter- 
mined to build again their homes and do honor to their 
mother for whom they had suffered so much. And right 
well have they wrought. To-day our fields abound with 
harvest. From the mountains to the seashore there is 
abundance. There is not, from Hatteras to Murphy, 
from Virginia to South Carolina, a man, woman, or child 
who is hungry to-day. North Carolina and South 
Carolina manufacture 60 per cent, of all the cotton 
manufactured in the South, and of this 60 per cent, 
this State claims over half. Within this county the 
forty furniture factories, giving employment to thou- 
sands of skilled laborers, sell their furniture in Grand 
Rapids, and take tribute to their superior workmanship 
from every State in the Union. The census shows that 
we more than doubled our investments in manufactures 
in the last decade. We grow more cotton on less acre- 
age than ever before, while our tobacco crop in value 
exceeds that of any State in the Union. Our vegetable 
gardens have grown into fields, and we feed the crowd- 
ing multitudes of the Eastern cities. In every depart- 
ment of human activity your brothers here are forging 
to the front. We stand in the morning, with our faces 
to the light, and gladly hear the command that '*we 
go forward." . . . 

In your travels you may have run across **the 
scorners who scoff at and the witlings who defame" 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 277 

this State. You may have heard that she is ignorant 
and provincial, but I have the pleasure to inform you 
what your affection already knows, that there can be 
found nowhere within her borders a man known out of 
his township ignorant enough to join with the fool in 
saying "There is no God. " There is no man amongst 
us whose hand is so untrained that it does not instinc- 
tively seek his hat in the presence of a woman. There 
is no ear so untaught that it does not hear the cry of 
pity ; and no heart so untutored that it does not beat in 
sympathy with the weak and the distressed. Illiterate 
we have been; but ignorant, never. Books we have not 
known; but of men we have learned, and of God we 
have sought to find out. *'A gentle people and open," 
frank and courteous, passionate when aroused, and 
dangerous in conflict; capable of sacrifice, among 
warriors the first — praised by men' as warriors only 
because of the high courage manifested there, giving 
promise of the wonderful achievements which lie before 
us in peace. 

These are your people; they are my people. I am 
proud of their history; proud of their character; and 
glad to introduce you to them again. Your brethren 
all wish you to stay among us to the utmost limit of 
your time, to see us and know us as we are. If you 
find our material condition better than it was when you 
left us, we claim no praise for it. If we have done well, 
it is because we were taught aright by those who went 
before us, taught at their expense; and credit belongs 
to them alone. We think we hold on to the truths 
which our fathers taught us. We believe that we still 
maintain a passion for liberty; that we love indepen- 



278 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

dence, and set more store by honor than by wealth, and 
that we seek wealth only in order that the earth may 
grow better by what we do. In log cabin, in frame 
house, in modern mansion, each and all of you will find 
a welcome. The latchstring hangs outside the door — 
but not for you. The latchstring is for the stranger 
only; the door stands open for you. . . . 

I extend to you all the liberties of the State, and 
invoke that pious benediction of Tiny Tim, "God 
bless us every one!'* 



CHAPTER VII 



HOW THE SOUTH MAY REGAIN ITS PRESTIGE 

(Address Before Southern Educational Association, Jacksonville, 
Fla., December, 1903.) 

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: 



T 



HE late Senator Hoar in an address which he 
delivered at Charleston a few years ago used 
this language: 



"The American people have learned to know as never before the 
quality of the Southern stock, to value its noble contribution to the 
American character; its courage in war, its attachment to home and 
State; its love for rural life, its capacity for great action and generous 
emotions; its aptness for command and, above all this, constancy, 
the virtue above all virtues, vv^thout which no people can be either 
great or free. After all, the fruit of this vine has a flavor not to be 
found in other gardens. In the great and magnificent future which 
is before our country, you are to constitute a large measure both of 
strength and beauty." 

When we read this the splendid tribute to the South, 
all of our hearts swelled mth pride and were glad. We 
rejoiced to find appreciation at the North and a rarely 
beautiful expression of our real character. The pre- 
diction that a great and magnificent future for our 
country was to be based in large part on the strength 
and beauty of the South brought to all Southern people 

279 



280 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

a distinct pleasure. The question now arises among us, 
however, as to whether, despite this prediction, we have 
any large part in the life of this nation, and if not, how 
can we make good and secure our proper share in the 
affairs of the country. 

To-day it seems to me that we have less effect upon 
the thought and action of the nation than at any period 
of our history. 

Before the war between the States, Southern states- 
men directed the policies of the nation and filled the 
largest place in the eye of the people. They wrote few 
books, but their speeches illuminated every subject 
which they touched and set the fashion of political 
thought. In this day it is not too much to say that 
what any Southern man thinks of political question or 
governmental duty carries no weight in their final 
settlement. There must be a cause underlying this 
fact. What is it? How shall it be remedied.'* 

Until 1865 the Southern States, while in form a Demo- 
cratic government, were in fact an aristocracy, and out 
of this aristocracy they chose — as aristocracies ever 
do — their best men for public service. The wisest, 
the strongest, the most learned were ever to the front; 
they were the natliral leaders of a brave and generous 
people who followed their leadership with pride and 
pleasure. With the close of the war the democracy 
arose and each man became a factor in the government 
of his country. Leadership was not so able or cultured. 
More blunders were committed and more unwise views 
propagated and believed in. Aristocracy was always 
trained. Democracy, if it is to be as effective, must 
likewise be trained. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 281 

Universal education is therefore the imperative and 
only remedy for our loss of power in the nation. But 
how shall we be trained? Are we to forget the memo- 
ries of the past; to break away from our traditions; to 
join with those who are clamoring for the adoption of 
the convictions which we have combated for many 
years? I think not. No people can ever become a 
great people by exchanging its own indi\'iduaUty, but 
only by developing and encouraging it. We must 
build on our own foundation of character, tempera- 
ment, and inherited traits. We must not repudiate, 
but develop. We must seek out and appreciate our 
own distinctive traits, our own traditions, our deep- 
rooted tendencies, and read our destiny in their inter- 
pretation. 

We must put away vainglory and boasting and take 
an impartial inventory of all the things that we have 
and are; and these things can only come to us through 
the training of all our citizenship. We have in the South 
to-day our Hills, our Lamars, our Becks, our Vests, 
our Vances, and our Hamptons (all of them products 
of the period before the war); but no man can go 
through the country and lay his hand on the head of 
any single child and say that here is a Lamar, here is a 
Vance, or a Vest, or a Hill, or a Hampton, or a Beck. 
It is the business of the schools to find for us these 
splendid children and develop them into these great 
leaders. If I believed in universal education for no 
other reason, this would be to me a sufficient one. 

But there are other reasons. We must educate every- 
body in our respective neighborhoods in order that we 
may have the benefit of competitions and appreciation. 



282 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

You may educate your son and daughter to the fullest 
extent possible, giving to them the learning of all the 
world, and after their education, put them in a com- 
munity where there are no other educated people, and 
they will fail to develop and grow as they would if they 
lived in a community where there was general culture. 
The man who stands easily head and shoulders above 
his neighbors will never be very tall. If he is to sur- 
pass his neighbors and be really great, he must have 
neighbors who are almost great themselves. He can- 
not work out of himself the best there is in him until he 
is forced to do so by the competition of others almost or 
quite as strong as he. When the trainers of horses 
sought to reduce the time in which it took to trot a mile, 
they did not go and pick out a particular colt and train 
him for the track, but the trainers all over the world 
were developing colts. Ten thousand of them were 
trained until year by year the record was lowered, and 
when at last lovers of horses w^anted to reduce the 
record below two minutes, after training thousands of 
horses for the purpose, they found one which they 
thought could accomplish the task. And then they 
did not put her on the track alone, but with two 
running horses ridden by boys with whip and spur 
they pressed them on the heels of the trotter, drove 
her to her utmost speed, aroused her spirit of victory, 
maddened her with the fear of defeat, until in 
one last mad burst she broke the world's record 
to 1:58|. 

Men must win their great victories after the same 
fashion. In the race of life, if they are to win a victory 
worth winning, they maist run against thoroughbreds. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 

If we pass under the wire ahead of a scrub, there is no 
honor in it. 

We want the schools to find all of the strongest and 
best in competition one with the other until the fullest 
power of each shall be developed. In doing this we 
shall get the largest contribution to society. When we 
have filled each man full according to his capacity, 
whether that be much or little, he will overflow, and the 
surplus belongs to us. It is the full fountain which, 
because it is full, overflows and makes the green grass 
grow and the plants burst into flower. It is a full man 
who, having all he needs, can contribute to the wants of 
others. 

It is needful, too, in order to get the best out of men, 
that we shall be able to recognize a fine thing when it is 
done. No man can speak to people who cannot hear, 
no musician can play for those whose ears are not 
attuned to harmony, and no man can paint for those 
whose eyes are not trained to see the beauty which he 
produces. There must be an appreciative audience 
before any man can do his best. If a woman sings her 
best songs and strikes the deepest chords of music 
when her sweetheart tells his story of love, it is because 
she believes that he understands and appreciates the 
beautiful thing she is doing. If she closes her piano 
and puts away her music after the wedding, it is be- 
cause she has discovered that the man she loves best 
does not realize the splendid talent that is hers. The 
woman who spends her days and nights studying light, 
shadow, and perspective, who mixes her colors with her 
own lifeblood, can never create a great painting unless 
she feels that some heart shall understand the fine 



^84 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

thing she has done and some soul be uplifted by her 
work. 

If these things be true — and that they are I am 
assured — then it must needs be that the finest things 
can be done only by education of the masses. 

It is education that finds and brings out for us the 
noblest and best. It stimulates these best to the ut- 
most exertion and fullest development by putting them 
in competition with others just as well trained as them- 
selves, and it gives to us the noblest and most apprecia- 
tive audiences. When this thought shall become the 
guiding thought of the South, and our school-teachers 
shall work all the time to their utmost until every son 
and daughter of the South is the thing that God in- 
tended — then, and not until then, shall we take our 
rightful place in the American Union. 

To reach this place will cost us much — much money, 
much toil, much sacrifice; but everything that is worth 
while always does cost much, and, indeed, the finest 
things can only be had at the highest prices, and then 
only when paid for in advance. No speech ever yet fell 
from mortal lips worth remembering a moment after it is 
delivered that did not come after the speaker had paid 
for it in advance. No song was ever sung that raised 
the hearts of the people and made them long for better 
things that was not sung after the singer had suffered 
all she sang. No preacher ever stirred the souls of his 
congregation -and put them to yearning after "a closer 
walk with God" whose sermon was not made after his 
own hands had been nailed upon the Cross by the side of 
his Lord and Master. No man reaches the highest 
mountain peak until he has bruised his knees and 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 985 

scrambled over boulders and fallen into the gulches on 
his way up the height. Indeed, before he reaches there 
his head shall split with aching, his back shall break and 
the nails on his fingers shall be torn out by the roots as 
he pulls himself up the rugged way. But when he does 
reach the top, the world lies at his feet and the pathway 
seems to him no longer difficult. The boulders are out 
of sight, gently covered by the grass that grows by the 
wayside, while the flowers burst into the beauty of the 
eternal morning. The struggle upward is worth the 
cost, and without the cost would not be worth while. 

The South, which bore so much, sacrificed all of her 
wealth, and gave the life of her young men in such 
numbers as to appal the historians — she ought now 
to be able to do anything necessary to achieve the best 
things that are to be found in the world. We must 
learn all that can be learned, do all that can be done, 
and be all that we ought to be. The learning and doing 
will not give us power until we are what we ought to be, 
for power, permanent and lasting, must finally be based 
on righteousness. 

When the war between the States closed and the 
incomparable leader of the Southern armies cast about 
to find the work he ought to do, he became a teacher. 
Gen. Robert E. Lee, the greatest soldier of the nine- 
teenth century, was greater in peace than in war. He 
realized that the South could only be made great, 
pow^erful, and controlling through the schoolhouse, and 
he devoted the last years of his life to the high purpose 
of teaching. When he came to die, tossing on his last 
bed of illness, his mind reverted to the titanic struggle 
through which he had passed. He fought over again 



286 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

the great battles of that awful conflict, and as he stood 
in imagination before the serried ranks of the enemy he 
cried out to his aide: *'Tell Hill he must come up.'* 

We are fighting to-day a more terrific battle with the 
forces of ignorance than he was fighting then. If I had 
the right to use the great words of this mighty man I 
should call out to-night and say: "President Alderman, 
President Mclver, President Mell, Chancellor Kirk- 
land, Chancellor Hill, President Thatch, President Ful- 
ton, President Boyd, President Taliaferro, President 
Prather, President Jesse, * you must come up. * Bring 
all your corps of truth and light and power. Open 
your batteries, for the conflict is now on with the enemy. 
The powers of ignorance and darkness are arrayed 
against us, and the fight must be to a finish. *Tell Hill 
he must come up.'" 



CHAPTER VIII 

AYCOCK ON THE HUSTINGS 
(A Typical Campaign Stump Speech, 1910.) 

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

WHEN I was in this county in 1900, ten years 
ago, I spoke on the Constitutional Amendment 
then pending before the people, and I made 
certain predictions as to what would be the outcome if 
the people chose to adopt that Amendment to the Con- 
stitution and set free the white men of North Carolina. 
I told you if that Amendment were adopted that we 
should live to see the day when North CaroUna instead 
of being at the foot of the educational roll would 
proudly take her stand up toward the top of the column; 
and with education I told you would come better con- 
dition of farming; a better condition of manufacturing; 
a better commercial condition; a better banking con- 
dition. With your good schools would come good 
roads, I said, and we should go forward at such a pace 
that no other State in the American Union could keep 
step with us. 

My Republican friends thought then that I was 
predicting things that were impossible of fulfilment. 
They denied my prophecies. They went so far as to 
say that if we adopted the Amendment we would dis- 

287 



«88 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

franchise the white men of North CaroUna, and they 
fooled themselves and a good many other white men 
into the belief that the Amendment was fraught with 
danger notwithstanding which the great, strong, sturdy 
white men of this State, backed as they were by the 
pure and noble womanhood, rolled up 50,000 majority 
for the Amendment. (Cheers.) And every word that 
I predicted then is history to-day. 

There is not a man in North Carolina to-day, be he 
Democrat or Republican, who is not proud of the prog- 
ress which has been made by North Carolina since 
1900. We have been building a schoolhouse every day 
during the year, including Sundays. We are spending 
to-day three times as much money on the education of 
the children of North Carolina as we were spending the 
day I was inaugurated Governor. We are spending 
three times as much money for the support and main- 
tenance of the old Confederate soldier — God bless 
him — as we w ere spending the day I was inaugurated 
Governor of North Carolina. (Cheers.) We are spend- 
ing nearly three times as much for the insane of the 
State as we were spending then. And we have got 
three times as much money in the banks of North Caro- 
lina as we had the day I was inaugurated Governor. 

And is it not a fine thing, my countrymen, that as we 
spend, we gain? 

There be people upon the face of the earth who think 
that if you could kill the old, destroy the helpless, 
make way with the weaklings, that we should prosper 
and grow; that we would become a mighty and a great 
people; majestic in stature; fine in intellect; high in 
morals. But the men who think that, leave God 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 580 

Almighty out of the equation of human life, and it 
always happens that that people thrives most who does 
the most for the child, and the most for the old and the 
infirm. We have prospered in exact proportion as we 
have kept faith with God in caring for the afflicted. 

It is a fine thing to be a Democrat and belong to a 
party that can bring about this condition of affairs in 
charity, in industry, in education. But we are not 
spending a cent to run the penitentiary, and therein lies 
the difference between us and the Republicans. We 
spend our money to run schools, and make the peniten- 
tiary contribute to them; and they spent their money 
to run the penitentiary and make the schools con- 
tribute to that. That is the truth. The Republican 
administration did not have charge of the penitentiary 
but two years, because the Democrats got the Legis- 
lature in 1899 and elected a Democratic board of 
directors, but during their two years the Republicans 
managed so that at the end of the time, when I came 
into office, it took $227,000 of the people's money to 
square accounts with the penitentiary. During the 
four years I was in office we turned $155,000 profits 
from it into the treasury of North Carolina, after pay- 
ing all expenses. And here is the difference between a 
Democrat and a Republican. When Governor Glenn 
came into office, he turned in more than I did, and 
Governor Kitchin is going to turn in more than both of 
us did. Democrats progress upward. W^e will get to 
Heaven after a while. You Republicans progress 
downward. I don't know where you will go to. 

Now, I take it, my countrymen, that whether we 
be Democrats or Republicans, that we all want good 



290 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

government, and that all this assembling of the people, 
this gathering in the pubHc places, this meeting in your 
primaries, this holding conventions, this leaving your 
farms and your banks and your stores and your manu- 
facturing plants — all of it is designed for the good of 
the country. What are we in politics for? Is it 
personal ambition? Is it the desire to hold office? 
Is it the desire to be honored and glorified of men? 
That may be so with a few, but in all this great crowd 
that is assembled here to-day there are very few of you 
that ever held office or ever will. What are you here 
for? Why do you give up your time, your thought, 
your study, your work, in order to devote yourself to 
politics? It is that you may secure good government 
and equal opportunity for all the people. I believe 
there are few men in any of the parties, few among the 
masses of the people, who have any other hope or aspi- 
ration in their political strife than the building up of the 
State in which they live, so that they may have good 
homes for their wives and children and good schools for 
the children to go to, and to give to each man an oppor- 
tunity in life. 

WHY GOVERNMENT MUST BE KEPT CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE 

That is my view of the Democratic party. Our 
Republican friends have been for some years asking 
scornfully, "What is a Democrat?" I can tell you 
what a Democrat is. Some Democratic speaker a short 
time ago said that a Democrat is a man who votes the 
Democratic ticket. That is the proof of faith that is in 
him, but that is not the faith itself. 

A Democrat is a man who believes that our national 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 291 

Government has the powers which were granted to it in 
the Constitution and none other. A Democrat is a man 
who believes that the powers not granted to the national 
Government in the Constitution of the United States 
are reserved to the people or to the States. A Demo- 
crat is a man who believes that the power of taxation is 
the power to destroy, and that this power was never 
vested in any Government by a free people except to 
defray the expenses of the Government economically 
administered. A Democrat is a man who believes in 
the individual and thinks that his rights ought not to be 
restricted in any respect save only so far as is essential 
to the peace and progress of his neighbors. A Demo- 
crat believes in order to be responsive to the quick 
demands of the people the Government should be as 
close to the people as it is possible to bring it. A 
Democrat believes that when you have centralized your 
Government and made it strong and put it far away 
from the people, that the great mass of the people can't 
put their hands upon that Government and enforce the 
will of the multitude= 

Let us consider these last propositions a little further. 
Always, everyrv^here under the sun^ in all times, it has 
been the truth that the strong, the rich, the powerful, 
were closer to government than the weak. Isn't that 
true? Take the national Government at Washington 
which has to do with the relations of men in the States, 
has to do with your business affairs, with all the inti- 
mate affairs out of which grow your business, your 
farming, your manufacturing, everything that goes to 
make up life — can you touch it? Can you reach it? 
It is the men who are closer to it than you that can 



292 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

reach it. Our State Government itself differs in this 
respect. I believe on the day that I took the oath of 
Governor of North Carolina that I had as earnest a 
desire in my soul to serve every humble citizen of North 
Carolina as I did to serve the strongest and the richest 
and the most powerful. But who was it that came to 
Raleigh to see me.^ There is not a man in this audience 
that I should not have been glad to see, and who would 
not have been welcome in the Governor's office. But 
who came? Was it the plain, simple man? No. It 
was the strong, the educated, the powerful, the men who 
travel, the men who go about, the men who know how 
to do things, and do not feel embarrassed in doing them. 
They were the men that came and told me what they 
wanted. The simple, plain men who were building up 
North Carolina behind the plow and in the manufac- 
turing plant, in the forge, and in the mine and in the 
forest — they did not come. They did not have time 
to come, and if they had had time to come they would 
have felt some degree of embarrassment in coming and 
saying what they wanted. 

So you see, my countrymen, if you want good govern- 
ment you must have government that is right close to 
you, so that when the shoe pinches you can come to the 
shoemaker and say, " This is not a good fit, and I want 
a better shoe. '* Therefore, a Democrat is a man who 
believes that the government that shapes our daily 
lives and the things that enter into it should be a 
government that is close to the people. Therefore he 
believes in the preservation of the rights of the people 
and in withholding from the general government any 
power that is not nominated in the bond, the Consti- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 29S 

tution of the United States. We believe in the suprem- 
acy of the United States in all matters entrusted to 
it "by the Constitution, but outside of the matters en- 
trusted to it by the Constitution, we insist that every 
one of them belongs to the people and to the States. 

TAXATION THE MOST INTERESTING SUBJECT ON EARTH 

And now in the next place I wish to apply the doc- 
trines of the Democratic party to the most interesting 
thing on earth, and that is taxation. Of course, I am 
omitting women and children. Next to them comes 
taxation. There never has been a battle fought or won, 
in behalf of the liberties of the people under the sun, 
that has not been fought around this question of tax. 
Our own liberty was gained on the question of taxation. 
Our people feel that now. It has been said of North 
Carolinians that they are the hardest people on earth to 
get to vote a tax. I like for a man to sit down and say, 
**I will not vote a tax until I hear from you on it. I 
know nothing can hurt me except by means of the tax- 
ing power. The Government cannot offend me unless 
it raises taxes. It cannot employ police, it cannot 
employ judges, without money. We cannot have 
governors or presidents without money, and it cannot 
oppress without money." All the oppression any 
government has ever done on the face of the earth has 
been by reason of the fact that it has had controlling 
power to raise money for its own purposes. It is right 
that our people are now and always have been touch- 
ous on this subject. I never made a speech in behalf 
of the tax for school in my life that I didn't congratu- 
late the people on their attitude of opposition to taxa- 



294 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

tion, and always told them that they ought not to vote 
for the tax until their reason was convinced that the 
tax was to be used for enlarging liberty, for enlightening 
the mind, instead of for strengthening the Government. 
That is the test. 

And now let us see about the levying of taxes by the 
United States Government. What is the Democratic 
doctrine? It is that a tariff shall be levied for revenue 
only, for the purpose of an economical administration 
of the national Government. And what is the Repub- 
lican doctrine.? The Republican doctrine is that a 
tariff shall be levied for protection to those who enter 
into business; that there shall be a tariff levied which 
takes account of the differences in wages in the United 
States and abroad plus a reasonable profit to the manu- 
facturer. Now I lay down this proposition: If the 
Congress of the United States undertakes to levy a 
tariff, not for revenue but for protection, it undertakes 
to legislate for some men and not for all men, and when- 
ever any government undertakes to legislate for some 
man and not for all men, then you are beginning to have 
class government; and whenever you have class govern- 
ment and say to any set of men: "I am legislating for 
you and mxy legislation is going to affect your business; 
my legislation is going to make you rich," don't you see 
that these men whose interests are to be affected are 
going to crowd the halls of legislation? Why shouldn't 
they? You are legislating for them. Instead of the 
people writing the tax laws, they are written by the few 
men who want to use them. 

Is that right? Let us see. If the Government can 
make me rich or make me poor, then when the Govern- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 295 

ment is dealing with that question I must be up there 
and attend to my business. You elect a Congressman 
to Congress. He goes up there and his theory is that 
he has a right to use the taxing power to enrich me. 
You stay at home and work. I go up there and see 
him; stay with him; eat with him; drink with him; talk 
with him; send bouquets and put them on his desk, and 
teach him the effects and advantages of my industry, 
and get him to put a high price on my industry and run 
my price up accordingly and get rich, and you foot the 
bill. 

When that Congressman comes around for renomi- 
nation and reelection, what do I do.? Do you reckon I 
am going to sit still and let another fellow beat him? 
The other man might not do what I wanted him to do. 
But this fellow has made me rich; he is my Congress- 
man; he wants to go back. I have made a million dol- 
lars by what he has done. I lay $10,000 on his table, 
and say to him, *' My friend, take this ; go again." That 
is the way we have been electing Congressmen, and we 
will continue to do so as long as it is held that they can 
legislate in behalf of the few. 

The Democrat says that you must levy your tax for 
revenue only. That reaches everybody and dodges no 
special interest, enriches nobody and makes nobody 
poor. We send our Congressmen up there, and they 
get together and study the problem as best they can, 
and they levy that tax and it works equally for all peo- 
ple. Does anybody raise $10,000 for such a man? 
Not at all. He has done his duty by everybody. 
Nobody is going out and buy votes for him, and corrupt 
the constituency in his behalf, and he has to go back to 



296 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Congress on his merits, and not by reason of buying his 
way in. 

EFFECT OF PROTECTION ON INDUSTRY 

By means of this protective tariff what has hap- 
pened? You can build up an industry by it. I have 
never disputed that proposition anywhere. We could 
grow tea in South Carolina, by the operation of the 
protective tariff. Senator Tillman says. If you will 
make it high enough you can grow it in South Carolina 
and make some people rich. You can build up a spe- 
cial industry. Don't you see when they put on that 
high tax, and exclude foreign competition, the manu- 
facturer starts up? One man starts with a capital of 
$100,000. He hurries up his plant. He has a large 
market and it is exclusive. The tariff has shut out all 
foreign competition. He goes to work and gets his 
goods on the market and sells them nearly as high as the 
tariff will allow him. He coins money, and gets rich 
fast. The next man sees this, and says, *'If A. is making 
money that way, I can, too." He builds a $250,000 
factory and gets rich, too. Then C. comes in and builds 
a factory for $1,000,000, and the prices go a little lower. 
And so they keep on until they have twenty-five or 
twenty-six plants throughout the United States, supply- 
ing the needs of the American people, and they have 
brought the prices down as low as the foreign market. 
We are reveling in low prices for these manufactured 
goods. 

Finally the smartest one of these fellows drops a 
letter to the others. He says: 

" My dear Sir: You and I are engaged in the same line of business. 
For the past few years we have not been making much profit. In 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 297 

the beginning we made a great deal of money, but for the last few 
years, by reason of competition with one another, it is getting almost 
impossible for us to make a living. It is folly for us to waste our 
lives in this mad struggle of competition. I am going to be at the 
Waldorf-Astoria next Thursday at 3 o'clock p. m., where I hope to 
see you and have a little conference." 

He sends that to the others, and the next Thursday 
the whole push is there. They eat a httle, and drink a 
little, and smoke a great deal, and finally the same fel- 
low says: "Boys, this is all foolishness; we are cutting 
each other's throats. We have the American market 
and there is no sense in barely making a living. We 
used to make big money, and can do it again. I want 
us to form what is known as a trust; that is to say, I 
want us to form one great big corporation. You take 
stock in this corporation to the extent of the value of 
your plant, and I will take stock to the value of my 
plant, and so on around, and we will have it all in one 
company. We won't have but one president, one 
superintendent, two or three drummers, and we will 
discharge all the rest of them and centralize these 
plants and the management, and produce our product 
cheaper and earn a bigger dividend, and not only put 
our plants in at the valuation they are now worth, but 
we will double the amount of stock and give each one 
twice what his plant is worth and still make a divi- 
dend." 

That looks good to all of them except one fellow born 
a hard-shell Baptist Democrat. They are all like 
.Paul — "None of these things move me." He says, "I 
have been an independent manufacturer and am going 
to remain one still." They say, "All right. Bill. 
Good-bye." Bill goes down home and goes to work 



298 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

and overhauls his plant and oils it up and gets all the 
rust out of it and makes it run as smoothly as possible. 
He begins to economize because he knows there is a 
good fight on. The other twenty-five form their com- 
bination and put out their goods, and offer them on the 
market a little higher than before and Bill sells at the 
old price, so they cannot get much rise on them because 
Bill is offering his goods to the jobbers a little cheaper 
than theirs. Finally, they send a fellow down in BilFs 
neighborhood, and every time Bill tries to go up a 
little, they go down. They tell their representative, 
"Every time Bill goes down on those goods, you go two 
better. " Bill goes down five points, and they go down 
fifteen. Bill goes down five more, and they go down 
fifteen. 

It is beginning to wear on Bill. He is turning gray 
and getting pale. He has been a tactful, pleasant- 
faced fellow, and he used to go home in the afternoon 
and take his wife and children to ride in the automo- 
bile, or better, in the old-fashioned buggy. Now he 
does not get home until dark, and there is a scowl on his 
face. Mary meets him at the door and says, "William, 
what is the matter?" He scowls and says, "Nothing 
the matter with me." The trust had just gone down 
fifteen points the day before and he knows five points 
more will bankrupt him. He goes to bed and dreams 
dreams, and sees visions, and his visions of the devil are 
the most real. He gets up unrefreshed and a cold bath 
fails to put him in good humor. The morning is a 
bright, glorious, sunshiny morning, and there is a crisp- 
ness in the air. Nothing appeals to Bill. Bankruptcy 
is before him. From being wealthy, he is about to 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 299 

descend to poverty. From having his family have 
everything they want, they are about to descend to 
want. 

He finds a representative of the trust in his office. 
"Good morning, how are you feeHng, Bill.^" "Don't 
feel much. How are you.?^ *' " I am feeling fine. Now, 
Bill, there is no use in this foolishness. Come to terms. 
While we are in the humor, you had better get out. 
We don't want to hurt anybody. We are good folks. 
You have $100,000 in your plant. We will give you 
$100,000 stock in our concern, and a $50,000 check on 
top of it." 

Bill had had visions of bankruptcy, and his wife 
wants a new automobile, and his children want to go to 
college. He is mad, but he reaches over and says: 
"Make out your papers," and he makes his deed, and 
gets his $100,000 in stock, and he sticks that check for 
$50,000 into his pocket and walks around town, with a 
stoop in his shoulders and a scowl on his face, but there 
is a smile lurking around the corner of his eye. He 
banks that check, and in a week's time Bill is beginning 
to smile again, and in a month's time he is driving out 
with his family. The world looks good to him. He 
votes with the Democrats for a w^hile against the trusts, 
but he is softening. At the end of the quarter Bill gets 
a 10 per cent, dividend on that $100,000 stock, and he 
sticks that $10,000 into his pocket and he steps about 
three feet at every step now. He is still mad but he will 
vote the Democratic ticket, provided the fellow on the 
ticket is a good man. 

Another quarter rolls around and another $10,000 
check comes in. Well, sir, there ain't hardly room on 



300 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

the sidewalk for Bill. His thumbs have found the arm- 
holes of his vest. " I am a Democrat, but I tell you this 
Democratic party is getting mighty silly, putting out a 
heap of fool-f angled notions. Better let the business 
men run it. I will vote the Democratic ticket, but I 
am getting mighty tired of them calling on me to vote 
for the kind of men I have been voting for, and I am not 
going to do it any more. *' 

Another quarter rolls around and then at the end of 
the year they send Bill a stock dividend of 25 per cent. 
He says, " I am getting tired of this whole business any- 
how. I have long thought those Democrats had too 
many fool things in their heads. I believe I will vote 
for Taft this fall." Just as soon as the Republicans 
hear tell of that, they elect him chairman and at that 
instant they become respectable. 

Oh! my countrymen! this is no fancy picture. It is 
the everlasting truth of history as it has been written 
in the United States for the past twenty years and is 
being written to-day. It is the history of the United 
States as it must needs be written and always will be 
written as long as the doctrine prevails that the power 
rests in the Government to levy taxation for any pur- 
pose other than the administration of the Government. 
You may take every other plank out of the Democratic 
platform, but I will not submit to putting power into the 
hands of anybody to tax me poor and to tax you rich. 

INTERESTS OF LABOR AND AGRICULTURE ALIKE DEMAND 
TARIFF FOR REVENUE ONLY 

Nor can any man deceive me into believing that 
the scheme was gotten up in behalf of labor. I am a 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 301 

believer in high wages, but I know that no business can 
exist for any length of time, or ever has or ever will exist 
for any length of time, where people pay any more for 
wages than labor earns. And if the American laborer 
gets higher wages than he gets elsewhere it is simply 
because he earns more wages than he does elsewhere. 
I forget the name of the book and also of the author, 
but he was an English lord who built railroads through- 
out the world, and he wrote an admirable book on the 
relation of wages to production. In that book he says 
that Australia pays the highest wages in the world, and 
the men, man by man, do the most work of any laborers 
in the world, and that America pays the next highest 
wages, and that Americans, man by man, do the next 
greatest amount of work that is done in the world. 
It was Mills and Carlisle, who demonstrated in the 
debates twenty years ago, that labor had nothing to do 
with the making of this protective tariff and had no 
interest in it. They demonstrated that, while the 
American shoemaker gets twice as high wages as the 
English shoemaker, he makes three times as many 
shoes; so that the labor cost in a pair of American 
shoes is only two thirds the cost of the labor in a pair of 
English shoes. All that American labor wants is a fair 
field, and no favors anywhere. They will work out 
their destiny everywhere. 

Your Republican orator is going around seeking to 
delude people into voting themselves rich by taxing 
themselves. Don't you know that building up a fac- 
tory suddenly and quickly and making it make enor- 
mous profits brings about quick riches for a few? 
And riches bring about luxury, and luxury brings about 



Sm THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

vice and debauchery, and divorce and remarriage and 
shame throughout the land. The other policy brings 
about steady development through agriculture, manu- 
facturing, railroading and banking for all the people. 
Good profits but not extravagant profits. Safe, but not 
speculative. What do safe profits do.? Build charac- 
ter and make men. Your man whose business grows 
this way is steady to-day, to-morrow, and next day, and 
when he comes to old age he is that picture of serenity 
and honor spoken of by Solomon, when he says, "that a 
hoary head is a crown of glory, " if found in the way of 
honor. With the other plan we make a millionaire, but 
destroy a man, and where we make one millionaire, we 
make a thousand paupers. The land that is most 
blessed is the land that has plenty and prosperity, that 
has neither riches nor poverty in the extreme. That is 
the land of peace and quietness and the land where God 
dwells. 

The tariff has nothing to do with the price of your 
cotton. Why? Because you export cotton. You do 
not import cotton. The tariff does not raise the price 
of your cotton nor the price of your wheat. We export 
it and do not import it. Although they have a pre- 
tended tariff, it does not benefit or hurt anybody. The 
tariff doesn't affect the price of corn. We export corn. 
They have a tariff on corn. They are making out like 
they protect the farmer, but there is not a tariff on any- 
thing that the farmer grows that protects him in the 
least. We are exporters of what we produce on our 
farms. 

Hear me, you young men, and put this down in your 
books, and when I am dead and passed away, you tell 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 303 

your children after you that I said it. That is all the 
memory I want of North Carolina. They have a tariff 
on our exports now, but we are close to the day when we 
are going to cease to export foodstuffs — when we will 
import them. Do you know what the protective 
interests will do then.?^ When we become importers of 
foodstuffs that tax on farm products is coming off. 
Why? Because the dwellers in the city are going to 
be clamoring for cheap bread. It came off in Great 
Britain. 

The only salvation for the farmer is the Democratic 
doctrine of tariff for revenue. We would raise the 
revenue and you farmers would get the benefit. When 
you legislate for the few, you benefit the few to the ruin 
of the many and eventually you destroy the few. You 
know that this tariff question is a moral question. Men 
cannot put their hands into their neighbors' pockets 
and enrich themselves luider the forms of law, and 
remain as strongly moral as when they worked out their 
own livings by the sweat of their brows. There is 
power in the doctrine of Democratic righteousness that 
nobody has a right to take your money except for the 
needs of the Government. 

RECORD OF THE TWO PARTIES IN NORTH CAROLINA 
STATE GOVERNMENT 

And now let's talk about North Carohna's political 
affairs. In 1902 the Republican platform denounced 
my administration for extravagance — and it was true 
that I spent more money than had been spent by any 
Governor that preceded me. But what did I spend it 
for.'* I spent it in order that I might open the school- 



304 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

house door to every child in North CaroUna; that I 
might give to the Httle son of this cotton-factory laborer 
the opportunity to learn to read and write; that I might 
put into his hand the key of knowledge in order that he 
might win the Governorship of North Carolina or the 
Presidency of the United States. I said to my critics, 
"If we have spent it, we are spending it to make easier 
the way of those dear old soldiers to the grave; those 
glorious men who carried farthest when the battle 
raged the Southern cross. If we have spent it, we have 
spent it in order to hush the wail of the insane as they 
made night hideous in the jails of North Carolina. If 
we have spent it, we have spent it to unstop the deaf 
ear of little children and bid the dumb to speak. " 

The people answered, and they elected the Demo- 
crats; and the Republicans met in 1904 at the same 
place and adopted another platform, and they de- 
nounced me because I had not spent more money. I 
actually converted the Radicals of North Carolina; 
blest if I didn't. Converted the Radicals and Fusion- 
ists! Do you know what a Fusionist is.f* When I was 
trying to find out; I went to a Baptist Church, where 
they were holding a revival meeting. They had worked 
up considerable interest, and after the preacher had 
warmed up the crowd, he said : " My friends, I want all 
of you who are Christians to stand up, '* and most of 
them stood up. Most of the people in the Baptist 
Church are Christians. I am one myself; that is, I am 
a Baptist. After he looked over the congregation for a 
while he said, *'Be seated." Then he said, "All who 
are sinners, stand up,'* and everybody who had not 
stood up on the first call stood up except one man. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 305 

That was my old friend John R. Smith of penitentiary- 
fame; and the preacher saw him. You know he always 
does see you. It used to be when the preacher was 
preaching about my particular sin, I would try to get 
him to look at somebody else, but he kept his eyes on 
me. So he spotted John R. He said to him, "My 
friend, I notice you did not rise on either call — are you 
not a Christian or a sinner? " John R. spoke up, "No, 
neither. I am a Fusionist. That is what I am. " 

Now having converted you, if you will bring forth 
fruit meet for repentance, I will take you into the 
Democratic church. But let me tell you, I am not 
going to take you into the Democratic church until you 
can tell me who you favor for associate justice of the 
Supreme Court of North Carolina. I'll bet there isn't 
a Radical in the county who has ever heard of that this 
year. Why not.'^ You have got to nominate a chief 
justice. You Radicals didn't know that you had any- 
thing to do but to elect a chairman. That's all you 
want — a "cheerman." You got this habit of electing 
a "cheerman" when the negro was in business and you 
can't get over it to save your lives. All you want is to 
say, "Mr. Cheerman, please give me a post-office." 
You come mighty near proving what President Taft 
said about you — that you were nothing anyhow except 
a factional strife after federal offices. I did not say 
that myself, and I would not. I never did say anything 
that mean about you in my life. You live amongst us. 
Some of you are my friends. I like you, and I have 
been for thirty years trying to save you from damna- 
tion to come. 

My friends, there is a great deal more in this little 



306 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

matter of the Republican chairmanship fight than you 
think for; a vast deal more. You never heard the 
Democratic chairman mentioned in all these spring and 
summer months that have gone; you never saw a refer- 
ence to it in the papers. Why not.?^ Because in the 
Democratic party the people rule; because in the Demo- 
cratic party it doesn't make a bit of difference who the 
chairman is. The chairman can't run me; the chair- 
man is of no consequence to me. He is of no conse- 
quence to you. All he is for is to call the meetings 
together; all he is for is to get the speakers and send 
them out in the campaign and to manage the cam- 
paign. He doesn't tell us who to nominate for office; 
if he did, we would nominate the other fellow or die. 
That's what we would do. But when you Republicans 
make your fight you have not fought over the associate 
justiceship; you have not fought over filling these high 
offices. You don't know whom you are going to sup- 
port for associate justice. The reason of it is that your 
party is a one-man party. It is because you are used to 
obeying orders; it is because the men in authority and 
the men in place dominate your party, and you have 
not liberty of expression; you have not the power of 
dominating your own primaries and naming your own 
men and thinking your own thoughts and doing your 
own deeds; and therein hangs all the difference between 
a free people and people who are tending toward 
slavery. You want to be a Democrat, therefore, in 
order that every man may have an absolutely free 
expression of his will. And when we have it, we are not 
always going to get what we want. I have been there 
myself. I have been for certain men for office and they 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 307 

have been beaten. Bless your life, I was for a man for 
Governor two years ago and he got beat. I stayed with 
him a whole week, but he got beat. Men on the other 
side said I was trying to force his nomination because I 
had been Governor and everybody loved me, and I 
believe everybody did love me, but as soon as they got 
that report they went and voted for the other man just 
to show that I couldn't run them. 

My countrymen, there is a difference between a 
Democrat and a Republican. It is not a question of 
respectability and non-respectability. There are re- 
spectable Democrats and respectable Republicans; and 
disreputable Republicans and disreputable Democrats. 
It is a question as to whether we shall have equal rights 
for all the people, or special privileges for some, whether 
we shall have decent government under which your 
children shall prosper, or whether we shall have such a 
government as will again set our people by the ears, and 
compel them to resort to weapons and physical man- 
hood, and to maintain law and peace and order by 
physical prowess and courageous hearts. 

We now have law and peace and order in the State. 
Let us continue it. We have the best State individu- 
ally of any State in the Union. We have the cheapest 
State government in North Carolina of any State in the 
American Union. We have the best administration of 
justice of any State in the American Union. We have 
the cheapest administration of justice of any State in 
the American Union. We are making more progress, 
and have made more in the past ten years, under Demo- 
cratic rule than any other State in the American Union. 
And the time is shortly before us when we shall take our 



308 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

stand in the forefront of the States of the Union. 
Strong, educated, virile, we have the bravest men and 
the purest women, and are therefore capable of accom- 
plishing more than men less brave and women less pure. 
Let us maintain the benefit of this ancient government 
bequeathed to us by our forefathers, and may God 
bless you every one! 



CHAPTER IX 

ROBERT EDWARD LEE 
(Address Delivered in Raleigh on Lee's Birthday, January 19, 1912.) 
Ladies and Gentlemen: 

WE HAVE met to-night to do honor to the 
memory of Gen. Robert Edward Lee, a man 
whose position in the world is so well estab- 
lished, and whose fame is so strongly based that 
nothing which we can do or say will add to his glory. 
But, on the other hand, I can myself but count it a high 
honor to be deemed worthy to be permitted to talk 
about him to an intelligent and sympathetic audience. 
Some years ago there was unveiled in Richmond a 
noble equestrian statue of General Lee. The statue 
has been much criticised, but there is one thing about it 
which always strikes every observer and compels the 
admiration of all for appropriateness — the inscription 
on it is one word, "Lee. " There have been numerous 
Lees, many of them famous — Light Horse Harry of 
Revolutionary fame, General and Governor Fitzhugh 
Lee, to mention but two who were well worthy of mon- 
umental honors — and yet no visitor to Richmond from 
any part of the civilized world ever asks the question, 
"To whom was this statue erected.^" Everybody 



310 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

knows. There is but one Lee. He is the noblest, the 
purest, the highest possession of any people. 

It has been the fortune of many to win fame, to have 
their deeds recorded in history, and their achievements 
taught throughout the world to the young as a part of 
their education. The desire to attain fame is a large 
incentive in the human heart for great action and high 
thought, but most men who have lived and who have 
been honored in story and in song and in history, and 
whose deeds have been perpetuated in marble, have 
been those who won final victory. It is the unique 
glory of Robert Edward Lee that, having failed to 
conquer, he has yet achieved a distinction beyond his 
fellows. 

What is there about the man that thus selects and 
differentiates him from the group of those whom men 
honor as great? Why is it that every Southerner loves 
and reveres his memory? Why is it that the victorious 
North has placed him in the Hall of Fame? Why is it 
that English historians and army officers have vied with 
Southern orators in panegyric? Why is it that he for 
more than forty years has steadily grown in the esteem 
of mankind until he stands to-day the least criticised 
among all the heroes of the world, modern or ancient? 
Why is it that all mankind acknowledge the wondrous 
power and charm of the man and no one can be found to 
find fault with him? I think the reason may be found 
not alone in his singular "beauty of personality and 
emphasis of presence," in his magnificent intellect, in 
his perfect life, in his ideal Christian character, in his 
mastery of the science of war, but in that older fact 
which first finds exemplification in the life of Moses 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 311 

when, returning from his interview with the Lord on 
Mount Sinai, he found that in his absence the children 
of Israel had made for themselves a golden calf and were 
worshipping it, and he lost his temper and broke the 
stones and punished his people, and then went up unto 
the Lord to make intercession in their behalf, and said, 
" O Lord, these people have sinned a great sin and have 
made them gods of gold, yet now if Thou wilt, forgive 
their sin; and if not, I pray Thee blot me out of Thy 
book." 

This was no demagog>\ It was not said in the 
presence of the people. It was said by the creature to 
his Creator. It was said by one in whose face there 
shone the light which emanated from the Lord. It was 
said by one who had seen the lightnings and heard the 
thunders of Sinai. It was said unto the iUmighty God. 
"If Thou wilt punish my people, punish me also.'* 
From the days of Moses to the days of Gen. Robert 
Edward Lee, no other man had ever done so fine a 
thing; for Lee, who did not believe in secession, who was 
an officer in the United States Army and loved the 
Union, who had won renown on the fields of Mexico 
under the stars and stripes, to whom had been offered 
the highest position in the command of the armies of 
the United States, to whose clear vision there must 
have appeared the certainty of the final outcome, 
calmly said to the Union, " If you will punish my people, 
punish me also. I will not fight against Virginians. " 

The love of home, of family, of neighborhood, of 
county, of State, was predominant with him. The 
elemental foundation of all free government is found in 
this vital fact. There can never be a free people save 



312 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

those who love and serve those closest to them first, and 
those farthest away afterward. The Gospel must be 
preached to all the world, but its preaching must begin 
at Jerusalem. It never could have begun anywhere 
else, and if it had, it never would have gone anywhere. 
General Lee was a home-lover. He was a Virginian 
first and an American afterward. His intellect might 
be convinced, and was convinced, that under the Con- 
stitution of the United States the Union was to be per- 
petual, and to use his own language, "It is idle to talk of 
secession," but when secession became a fact and Vir- 
ginia had gone out of the Union, there was no logic, 
there was no power, there was no temptation, there was 
no honor, there was no hope, there was no glory, that 
could for one moment make him hesitate about drawing 
his sword on the side of Virginia. 

For myself, I have always believed in the right of 
secession. I never doubted that each State retained to 
itself the power to withdraw from an unbearable Union, 
and my admiration for the man who did not so believe 
but went with his State when the States seceded is 
intensified by my own conviction of the lawfulness of 
secession. And this view makes the war between the 
States a thing which should give pride to Southerners 
for all time. It was not a fight for slavery. When men 
tell me that the South fought for slavery, I answer 
them, Gen. Robert Edward Lee freed his slaves before 
the war and left important military duties to go to his 
home in order to carry out the will of his wife's father 
in setting free her slaves. Let the children of the 
South learn rather that the fight was a fight for local 
self-government, without which in all its fulness and 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 313 

power there can be no such thing as a Union of coequal 
States. It is the old doctrine of States' Rights — a 
doctrine which belongs to no section and is monopo- 
lized by no party. Indeed, the first Republican plat- 
form ever adopted was based on an idea of State rights 
so extreme that those of us who professed most strongly 
to believe in them refused to go to the extent demanded 
in that platform. The Republicans justified their 
refusal to return runaway slaves on the right of a State 
to legislate for itself on the subject of slavery. 

There is another great fact in the life of General Lee 
which makes him preeminent in all his career. No one 
ever heard of his putting the blame of failure of any 
enterprise on the shoulders of any one else. When his 
wonderful genius had planned a battle and assigned 
each commander his duty, if the battle went A\Tong 
through the failure of any commander, General Lee 
never gave to the \^orld any explanation of why the 
battle was lost. He never sought for a single instance 
to aggrandize his own glory by detracting from the 
service of any other. 

Indeed, I may go so far as to say that he never 
seemed to be conscious of any desire for the comment 
dation of man. His whole career is founded on the 
single word, "duty," which he himself declared to be 
the sublimest word in the English language. Having 
done his duty, what others said, what others thought, 
what misinterpretations might be made to his own hurt, 
seemed never to concern him, but he was always anxious 
that every other person connected with his enterprise 
should have full praise for any unusual merit exhibited 
by him. This trait of character approaches the fulfil- 



314 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

ment of the law, the whole law, which is briefly com- 
prehended in this, "Love thy neighbor as thyself.'* 
Service to his neighbors was always his life work, and 
when the war was ended, we find him calmly and 
deliberately refusing the acceptance of a country home 
in England with an ample annuity; declining the presi- 
dency of a great insurance company with a large salary; 
and gratefully accepting the meagre salaried presidency 
of a broken college. What a spectacle, my country- 
men, to see this commander of the greatest army that 
the world had ever seen, patiently, cheerfully, gladly, 
supervising the education of a few hundred boys ! He 
had taught the South the mastery of war. It was his 
highest desire thereafter to instil into the youth of the 
land a love of peace and a knowledge of the ways of 
industry. We cannot honor the memory of a man like 
this. We can only ourselves catch a few rays of light 
from the sunshine of his face. 

When the North tells me that General Grant was 
great, I admit it, and gladly join in praise for his gra- 
ciousness to General I^ee; but then I add that if he was 
great, he had his faults, personal and intimate, not to be 
mentioned in public because of the greatness of his ser- 
vice to the country. But General Lee was great with- 
out fault. There is nothing in his life to hide. All that 
we want is for the world to know him as he was. We 
should like for every child in the imiverse to be cogni- 
zant of everything he did and said, entirely confident 
that having learned every movement and every saying, 
the child would arise from his study a stronger, a better, 
a purer person, and vnih. a higher ideal of life. Again, 
the North and the world may justly make a hero out of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 315 

Abraham Lincoln — I do not hesitate to recognize and 
proclaim the essential greatness of the man — but there 
are stories which he told which I could not repeat to 
this audience to-night without offence. But if I could 
tell you all that General Lee ever said, you would rise in 
your seats and thank me for the gentleness, the purity 
the cleanness of the speech which I had made. 

And yet I have read within a week a book professing 
to be an appreciation of General Lee which says that he 
failed. I cannot believe that any man has failed, or 
the principles for which he contended have ever failed 
when he has left to the world a life so rich and full, clean 
and serene, as to make every man who studies it desir- 
ous of doing something and being better himself. 



CHAPTER X 

THE FAMOUS "UNIVERSAL EDUCATION" SPEECH 
(Birmingham, Ala., April, 4, 1912.) 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I AM extremely gratified at the terms in which his 
excellency, the Governor of Alabama, has seen 
fit to present me to this magnificent audience; 
it is very gratifying; it is very satisfying. I knew, of 
course, that what he said about me wasn't the truth. 
(Laughter.) I am not afraid to say that the Governor 
does not tell the truth, because I have been a Governor 
myself and I know what I am talking about. (Laugh- 
ter.) But I enjoyed it the more because it wasn't the 
truth. (Laughter.) You know, it does not make a 
pretty woman glad to tell her so; she knows it before 
you tell her; but if you want to see joy irradiate a 
woman, you get an ugly woman — not in Alabama, for 
you couldn't find her here (laughter) — but you go up 
in New England and find an ugly woman and tell her 
so (laughter) — just tell her she is pretty and she will 
be the happiest, gladdest woman in the United States. 
(Laughter.) 

And this is the way I feel to-night when the Governor 
says that I have done more for education in the South 
than any other Governor in it. After listening to his 

316 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 317 

magnificent address it would be vanity on my part to 
believe it, but I am proud of the fact that we have built 
a schoolhouse in North Carolina every day since I was 
inaugurated as Governor, including Sundays ; and I am 
here to-night to tell you that I am a thorough believer 
in education. 

I believe in universal education. Did you hear what 
I said.'^ You see, I am not a scary man. I believe in 
universal education; I believe in educating everybody. 
I will go further, and say that I believe in educating 
everything; and so do you when you come to think 
about it. 

What do you mean by education? You mean bring- 
ing out of a thing what God Almighty put into it. I 
repeat that I am in favor of educating everybody and 
educating everything. Why, we have educated the 
Irish potato. You know what an Irish potato is now; 
but what did the Irish potato used to be when it was 
ignorant and had never gone to school? Why, it was a 
little thing, and it w^as tough and bitter, but some wiser 
man than the average found it, and he says, "I believe 
this thing has got good in it, and I will fetch it out. '* 
" Fetch " is a good word in North Carolina, but I do not 
know how it is in Alabama. I taught school myself, 
and I know " English as she is spoke. " He said it is not 
good and I will fetch it out, and he proceeded to edu- 
cate it; to bring out of it what it had in it. He planted 
and fertilized it and cultivated it, and planted it and 
fertilized and cultivated, and planted it, fertilized it 
and cultivated it, until the Irish potato has become so 
good that we have it three times a day, every day in the 
year, and we thank God when leap year comes and 



318 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

gives us one more day in which to eat Irish potatoes. 
(Laughter.) But you must understand that is an 
educated Irish potato, and that is not an ignorant Irish 
potato. You would not eat that old-fashioned, igno- 
rant Irish potato on Saturday. 

So education is good for a vegetable, and it is 
good for animals, and it is good for a mule. You 
know the most dangerous thing in this country is an 
old, unbroken mule. Josh Billings said if he had 
to preach the funeral of a mule he would stand at 
his head. (Laughter.) 

But that is your unbroken mule. We call it "break- 
ing" them. What is "breaking" a mule except train- 
ing him, educating him, bringing out of him what there 
is in him.? Why, when you buy a mule fresh from a 
drove it takes two white men and one Fifteenth 
Amendment to hitch him to a plow. (Laughter.) 
And when you get him hitched up he plows up more 
cotton than he does grass; but after you have broken 
him, trained him, developed him, educated him, why 
that old mule goes right along. He used to, in our 
State, when I was a farmer. Why, that old mule would 
go right along down the side of this cotton and when a 
clod dropped over on it she would keep her head so you 
could lift it off. (Laughter.) I have done it and I 
know how to do it; I say what I believe because I know 
that if you don't let me make a living practising law or 
in politics I can plow it out. 

Well, if it is good for a mule it is good for a dog. 
Does anybody hunt foxes in Alabama? If it were day- 
time I could look in your faces and tell, because if there 
is any lovely man on the face of the earth it is one of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 319 

these old time fox hunters. (Laughter.) When I 
used to travel up and down North Carolina, making 
political speeches, and night would be coming on and I 
didn't know just where I was going to stay, I would 
begin to look out on the roadside, and if I came to a 
nice place but didn't see a dog there I would go right on 
through; but if I got to a place and found about fifteen 
hounds reclining in the decUning rays of the sun, I 
drove right in and stayed there, because I know there 
ain't a man in North Carolina that will feed fifteen 
hounds but will be glad to feed me and want me to stay 
a week with him. 

Now, take that hound puppy, a hound puppy that 
hasn't run foxes. He would get up before breakfast 
and start a rabbit before being told to. But when you 
want this hound to hunt foxes you take that puppy and 
break him, train him, educate him. You take him out 
on some beautiful moonlight night in the cold crispness 
of the early fall or the late fall or early winter, ^dth the 
old hound — and you take the boys along with you too, 
if you are a good-hearted man — and you won't have 
been out more than fifteen minutes before every one 
of those dogs will be going, *'Yow, yow, yow," and 
the old fox hunter says, *'Shut up, that is no fox; it is 
nothing but a rabbit." You wait until you hear the 
music. And by and by, away off yonder on the hill a 
mile away you will hear the music come, and your fox 
hunter says, "Stop, hush!" He waits until she gives 
mouth again. He says, "Hush up there." He sends 
the other dogs in because he knows a fox has gone along 
there as well as he would if he had seen the fox put his 
foot down there, because that music is educated and 



320 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

she speaks the truth. Let me say to you teachers that 
that is the very first essential of all true education, the 
personal verity of it, the truth telling that comes out 
of it. (Applause.) 

Good for a hound dog? Then it is good for a pointer. 
Maybe you think, you bird hunters, these pointers 
always did point birds. No, they didn't any such 
thing. Why, the pointers used to hunt birds, but they 
hunted birds to eat, for a pointer loves a bird just as 
well as you love quail on toast. But away back yonder 
the man said, *'I will take this instinct of the dog to 
hunt birds and I will make him hunt birds for me in- 
stead of for himself. " 

And he took him and trained him and taught him and 
educated him, and he developed, generation after gener- 
ation, generation after generation. And some years 
ago a man who loved hunting told me that he had this 
experience with his dog : He took him out in the field, 
struck the track of a covey; he followed it down to a 
high rail fence. The dog jumped up on the fence and 
got to the topmost rail and discovered that the covey 
was just on the other side, and he couldn't keep his 
position on the fence. He knew if he sprang over that 
he would flush the covey; and he let himself down, step 
by step, until he quietly got on the ground and ran up 
the fence fifty yards and jumped the fence and came 
up on the other side, and sat, and never stirred at all, 
with every nerve a-tingle, with the saliva dropping down 
his mouth, because he wanted to spring upon the bird; 
but he wouldn't spring until his master said go, because 
he had in him the second power that comes with all 
true education; and that is the power of self-restraint, 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 321 

to hold on until the hour comes to strike and gc. 
(Applause.) 

Yes, it is good for dogs. Well, if it is, it is good for 
human beings. That is, to bring out of them all that 
there is in them. You understand, if there is not any- 
thing in them you can't get anything out of them. But 
the question I put to you is, \Mio appointed you to say 
that there isn't anything in this little child .^ Did God 
Almighty endow any man or woman in this audience 
with that subtle knowledge that would enable you to 
go in a schoolroom of children and put your hand on 
the head of this six-year-old boy and say that God 
appoints him to greatness and distinction and honor; to 
put your hand on the head of this other six-year-old 
boy and say that God Almighty intended him for the 
ditch or to split rails? No, God hasn't conferred that 
power upon any of us; but He has said to us all. Open 
wide the schoolhouses and give to every child the 
opportunity to develop all there is in him. If God 
didn't put anything there you and I can't bring it out; 
but if you and I suffer the Hght of such a one to be hid- 
den under a bushel, may the sin and shame of it abide 
on us forevermore. 

Well, my friends, you say to me, "Yes, I am in favor 
of education of everybody, but then I want everybody 
to do his own educating. I am going to educate my 
children, you need not bother about that, Governor; 
that is what I am staying awake at nights for; that is 
what I am working for; that is what I am saving for; 
that is the reason I am willing to bear the name of 
stingy. I am saving my money; I am going to educate 
my boys and girls. I am going to send them through 



322 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

the schools; I am going to send them through the col- 
lege; I am going to send them through the university; 
if they show any high turn I am going to send them 
abroad; I am going to train my boys and girls. Don*t 
be uneasy about that." 

Oh, my friends, I thank God Almighty, who is no 
respecter of persons, that you cannot get the best for 
your boy and your girl until you are ready to give the 
best to my boy and my girl. You can take that boy of 
yours and send him through the schools, send him 
through the college, send him through the university, 
send him abroad, bring him back home, head and 
shoulders above his friends and neighbors, but he won't 
be very high when he is head and shoulders above his 
neighbors if his neighbors are ignorant and untaught 
and weak. You cannot get the best out of your boy 
unless other people's boys are educated nearly or quite 
as well as your boy; you have got to get the best out of 
your boy by competing with other boys that are near 
about as good as he is but not quite. 

If you want to get the best out of a horse do you put 
that horse on the track by himself? By no manner of 
means. How did they break the record below two 
minutes? When they began training horses away back 
yonder when I was a boy they got him down to 2 : 40, 
and the record stayed at 2 : 40 so long that it became a 
proverb. Whenever the old folks would say a man had 
started to the devil by the short road they would say 
he was going a 2 : 40 gait. How did they get it below 
2: 40? Did they train one horse? No. They trained 
10,000 horses, all over the world until they found one 
that broke it at 2: 38, and then they trained 10,000 more 



iSl /V^C/UvtC A^Vv (tU^ ^yv^ il^-tyr- ^f&4t^ tk^ ^ 



OUTLINE FOR GOVERNOR AYCOCK'S UNIVERSAL 
EDUCATION SPEECH 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 323 

until they found one that broke it at 2:36, and then 
10,000 more until they brought it step by step, and step 
by step until they got it down to two minutes, and 
when they got it down to two minutes and a half second 
they trained 10,000 other horses and some man said, *'I 
have found one horse that I think will do it." And 
then did they put her on the race track by herself? 
No. They put her on the race track and put a boy on 
the running horse, and put the runner behind her, and 
with whip and spur he pressed her, pressed her, strong 
in her determination that she would win the day, that 
she would give up the last breath she had before this 
running horse should beat her under the Tvare, and so in 
one grand last burst of speed she went under the wire in 
less than two minutes with the runner at her heels. 
Your boy is going to run a race; he wants to run a race 
with a race horse and not with a scrub. (Applause.) 

Suppose he can outrun his neighbor; if this neighbor 
can't make more than two miles an hour, your boy is 
not running much is he? Suppose he does stand head 
and shoulders above his neighbor : if this neighbor is not 
more than five feet high, he is not tall. Suppose he can 
throw his neighbor down, but his neighbor can't lift 
more than twenty-five pounds, your boy is not much 
strong. 

Oh, no, if you want the best for your boy, thank God 
you have got to believe in this splendid, grand democ- 
racy and give to my boy and other people's boys the 
same opportunity that your boy has got, and if then 
your boy outruns our boys in the race he will be a 
winner that is worth while and he will be something that 
is worth being proud of. 



324 CHARLES B. AYCOCK 

You are going to educate your girl; I know you are. 
You are going to sit up all night to educate her; you are 
going to save to educate her; going to economize; going 
to be stingy to educate her. Maybe you want her to 
make a musician. Well, I am going to tell you. You 
can send her to all the schools; you can let her burn the 
midnight oil; you can let her study under great musi- 
cians until she is almost blind; you can send her to the 
conservatory of music, you can send her abroad until 
her whole soul thrills and feels the glory of her gifted 
music, but she cannot make music to people that do not 
understand. You cannot talk to an audience that 
cannot hear. Governor, did you ever try it.^^ Well, 
I have. When I was Governor I made speeches all over 
North Carolina. I canvassed the State for four years 
in behalf of the education of the children of the State, 
right straight along; sometimes on Sundays they would 
ask me down to the churches to talk, and I always 

talked about education 

(At this juncture the speaker fell dead.) 



CHAPTER XI 

GOVERNOR AYCOCK's LAST MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE 
OF HIS STATE 

(Address Prepared for Delivery in Raleigh, April 12, 1912.) 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I OUGHT to look my happiness to-night and not 
be reduced to the inadequacy of words with 
which to express my appreciation of your greet- 
ing. I come to talk to you as a simple Democrat, 
talking to fellow Democrats, for I am a plain and sim- 
ple man, who loves his friend and has never been hated 
enough by any man to make him hate again in return. 
And I am a Democrat. I am not a conservative or a 
reactionary Democrat; I am not a progressive Demo- 
crat, for the word "Democrat" with me is a noun 
substantive of so fine and large import that it admits 
of no addition or diminution of any qualifying word or 
phrase. 

WHAT IS A DEMOCRAT? 

What is a Democrat? He is an individualist. He 
beheves in the right of every man to be and to make of 
himself all that God has put into him. He is a man 
who believes and practises the doctrine of equal rights 
and the duty and obligation of seeing to it as far as he 
can that no man shall be denied the chances in life 

325 



326 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

which God intended for him to have. He is a man who 
believes in the Declaration of Independence, and who 
is filled with that spirit of equality which has made this 
country of ours the refuge of the oppressed of all the 
world and the hope of this age and of all ages to come. 

It is this spirit of democracy and of equal opportunity 
— for the terms are interchangeable and are equal to 
each other — which has conquered America, causing the 
three millions scattered along the coast at the end of the 
Revolutionary War to swarm with mighty energy and 
power over the AUeghanies, press across the Mississippi 
Valley, to run with haste across the prairies, to climb 
with energy the mighty Rocky Mountains, and never 
to tire until they stood with unf agging energy and gazed 
upon the rolling and majestic sweep of the mighty 
Pacific. 

One sometimes stops and asks himself why the rest- 
less energy, the untiring seeking after new land which 
has characterized this American people? What is it 
that has swept them from the Atlantic to the Pacific? 
What is it that has made them give up the comfort and 
ease of civilized homes to live in vast prairies and lonely 
mountains, far from one another and from all the con- 
veniences of more thickly populated sections? The 
answer can be found in the determination of every 
American to find a larger freedom, and when this has 
failed him in the crowded cities and thickly settled farm 
districts, he has moved elsewhere to find it. 

But the mountains and plains have been conquered. 
The lands have all been settled. There is no other 
place for men to seek and they must find this larger 
liberty at home or forego it forever. The task, there- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 827 

fore, of securing liberty comes to us afresh. It is no 
longer possible for men to run away from oppression 
and inequality. It is no longer ^athin their power to 
find this larger liberty elsewhere, and they must work 
it out for themselves in the crowded cities and in the 
thickly populated homesteads. This is the task of the 
present hour. 

THE PROBLEM OF THE HOUR 

During the span of my life, now just a little more 
than half a century, I have seen this struggle of the 
people for continued and enlarged freedom tirelessly 
seeking to work itself out; I have seen the nation grow 
in wealth and enormous fortunes piled up; I have seen 
railroads built until every part of the country is in touch 
with every other; I have seen the telegraph and tele- 
phone bringing all the ends of the nation together; I 
have seen industry develop and grow and wax strong 
and mighty, producing fabulous wealth and enormous 
products; and I have seen the earth perform her duty 
in the yield to the industry and science of man until her 
products are enough to feed and clothe and house every 
human being abundantly; I have heard the great ora- 
tors declaim that with the coming of this wealth there 
should come also a better age and a finer chance for 
those who sweat and struggle and toil and make the 
wealth, and yet I have looked in vain for the coming of 
that hour, and as I read the current history of the 
times, I find strikes and lockouts and hunger and cold 
and suffering greater than when Great Britain acknowl- 
edged the independence of the Thirteen American 
Colonies ! 



328 THE LIPE AND SPEECHES 

We have just touched the beginning of productive- 
ness. The scientist and the business man, the inventor 
and the captains of industry stand ready to-day to 
produce for the world all that it needs for sustenance, 
for comfort, and for reasonable luxury. The task of 
the statesmen of this hour is to devise some method by 
which thLs enormous production shall be for the utili- 
zation of the multitude rather than for the appropria- 
tion of the few. This is a task which has ever been 
upon the hearts of all thoughtful and well-informed 
men of generous disposition, but the appeal was never 
quite so compelling as it is at this hour. With the 
wealth in the country so great as to startle imagination, 
to stand in the presence of the thousands of hungry and 
cold strikers at Lawrence, Mass., and watch the strug- 
gles of the coal miners, seeking for a decent Uving; to 
see men in the greatest trust and richest organization 
on earth working twelve hours a day every day, includ- 
ing Sunday, on a wage that barely keeps body and soul 
together; and to reahze that these things are happening 
in this land of freedom, of superabundance, and are 
happening despite the efforts of right-minded men with 
good hearts, humbly seeking wisdom from God suffi- 
cient to enable them to correct these conditions, makes 
one feel with Tennyson like 

" An infant crying in the night. 
An infant crying for the light. 
And with no language but a cry." 

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY THE ONE REMEDY 

And yet I cannot bring myself to believe that the 
problem is unsolvable. Yea, I believe that it has 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 329 

already been solved and the solution has been for- 
gotten by us. It was solved in the single phrase, *' Equal 
opportunity to all and special privilege to none." It 
found its correct exposition in the inaugural address of 
President Jefferson when he insisted that the Govern- 
ment should be economically conducted to the end that 
labor should be Ughtly burdened. 

This latter is a simple sentence. It has not in it a 
single striking quaUty. It is so plain, it is so easy, that 
it is not like the solution of a difficult problem, and be- 
ing easy and plain, we have forgotten and failed to 
apply it. We have ever since this utterance been going 
steadily away from it and seeking to find equality of 
c^portunity in the extension of special privileges to 
some in the hope that out of their abundance they 
would make easier the condition of all. We have for 
all these years been supposing that it was possible to 
better the condition of the workingman by taxing him 
for the benefit of special industries so that these en- 
riched industries might in turn play my Lord Bountiful 
to him, forgetful of the axiomatic principle underlying 
Jefferson's phrase, that, after all, all taxation comes out 
of labor itself, for wealth is nothing but the accumulated 
product of labor translated into things of use. 

I lay down this principle: No man who is not a 
creator of wealth pays any tax. Custom-house officers, 
the collector of internal revenue, the sheriff, the tax 
collector, may collect taxes out of him because he has in 
his possession wealth created by others, but he himself 
does not contribute to the support of his government 
in any degree. When he pays his so-called tax, he 
charges it to some one else, and usually makes this 



3S0 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

other person pay interest and profit on the tax which he 
has ostensibly paid. 

If this be true — and it is true, and no man can 
successfully dispute it — then there is no possibility of 
giving superior advantages to labor by any tax which 
has yet been devised by the ingenuity of man. And 
this brings us easily and naturally to some discussion 
of the method of taxation adopted by the national 
Government, and now in force under the legislation of 
the Repubhcan party, and which has been in force, with 
some changes and modifications with a tendency ever 
upward, since 1860. There is not a tax law existing, 
there is not a special privilege enriching some at the 
expense of many now in force in the United States, 
which is not in force by reason of legislation passed by 
the Republican party. There is not a swollen fortune 
— which my stenographer properly wrote, stolen for- 
tune — threatening the structure of our Government, 
the peace of the nation and the hope of the age, that is 
not the creation of Republican legislation; and the most 
of it is based upon the one question of taxation. 

$110 A YEAR TARIFF TAX PAID BY EACH FAMILY 

It is no wonder that our forefathers went to war upon 
this great question. It is no wonder that our early 
English forefathers won every step in the advancement 
of liberty around this single question. I am almost 
tempted to say that no battle has been fought and won 
in behalf of humanity, in favor of enlarged liberty and 
greater opportunity, that has not been fought around 
this single question of taxation. The United States 
raises annually out of taxation on imports about 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 331 

$33.0,000,000, and for every dollar of this $330,000,000 
that goes into the treasury, at least five other dollars 
go into the treasuries of the special interests. Add 
these sums together and they make $1,980,000,000, 
which is $22 for every man, woman, and child in the 
United States. Assuming that there are five members 
in each family, this would be $110 to be paid by the 
head of each family, and this payment is a tax, and the 
worst feature of this tax is, that one sixth of the tax goes 
into the Treasury of the United States to secure for us a 
proper conduct of our Gk>vernment, while five sixths of 
it go into the treasuries of great corporations upon 
the assumption that in their kindness and out of their 
abihty they will increase the wages of labor. 

We have at last reached a time in the discussion of 
the tariff when it is conceded that the tariff is a tax and 
that this tax is paid by the people of the country that 
imposes it. The tax is indirect and the amount paid by 
each individual is never considered by him when he goes 
to purchase his goods, and if he thinks of it at all, he 
never knows how much he is paying. But the average 
tax on all goods imported into the United States is 
something more than 40 per cent, and this additional 
tax, collected in the first instance by custom houses 
when the goods are brought into the country, is added 
to the cost of the goods by the importer, who adds his 
profit on the original cost of the goods and on the tax as 
well, when he sells to the wholesale merchant; and the 
wholesale merchant adds his profit on cost, including 
tax whe? he sells to the retailer; and the retailer must 
add his profit on the whole cost, including the tax when 
he sells to the consumer. So that instead of being 



332 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

something over 40 per cent., as it appears when col- 
lected at the custom house, it becomes a great deal 
more before it reaches the consumer. 

HOW THE PEOPLE ARE DECEIVED 

The tax on sugar has been used by Professor Taussig 
as an apt and easy illustration of the operation of the 
tariff. The duty on sugar now amounts to about one 
and one half cents per pound on that imported to the 
United States. The treasury gets out of this tax 
$50,000,000, but on the sugar produced in the United 
States the treasury does not get a single cent, but 
$60,000,000 goes into the pockets of the producers or 
manufacturers of sugar, making a total of $110,000,000 
paid by the American people on the single item of sugar 
in the course of a year, or at the rate of $7.25 for each 
family. In order to make it clear to us all exactly how 
this works. Professor Taussig suggests that instead of 
the Government collecting tax at custom houses, we 
assume that it collects the tax through the retail 
grocers. On this assumption, when you buy fourteen 
pounds of sugar for $1,02, the grocer would inform you 
that his charge was 80 cents, but that when you had 
paid this 80 cents there were some other items that must 
be paid before you could get your fourteen pounds of 
sugar. Thereupon you would pay 10 cents to the 
grocer for the use of the United States Government with 
which to help run the Government in paying salaries 
and pensions, in building battleships, in maintaining 
the army and other expenses of the Government, and 
having paid this 10 cents to the Government, you would 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 333 

thereupon be called upon for 12 cents more for the use 
of the sugar producers. 

If this were the method actually in force for the col- 
lection of the tariff taxes, there never would be another 
tax levied for the sake of protection, and no Congress- 
man would ever vote for any tariff tax except for the 
direst need of the Government, and he would always 
be able to show to his constituents that every dollar of 
it was needed by the Government when administered 
in the most economical fashion. If a tax be hidden 
from observation by being withdrawn from attention, 
and when called to mind is covered with the pretence of 
being levied for the benefit of labor, it presents itself in 
a different aspect, and the American people have borne 
this tax and have suffered themselves to be exploited by 
a continual raise in it, until the enormous accumulations 
of protected industries and the tremendous wealth of 
trusts growing up under this protection, have startled 
them into an examination of the whole subject of tariff 
taxation. 

IMMORALITY AND INEQUALITY OF PROTECTION 

This reexamination of the subject of tariff taxation 
is to-day being had. On one side we find the national 
Democratic party declaring that the tariff should be 
levied for revenue only with which to run the Govern- 
ment economically administered, while the Republi- 
cans, growing bolder as the years go on, have now put 
into their platform a declaration which they have never 
dared to put there before — that is, that the tariff 
should be so levied as to cover the difference in the cost 



334 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

of production in the United States and abroad, with a 
reasonable profit to the manufacturer. 

The coming campaign for the Presidency is to be 
fought out along the line marked by these two con- 
flicting platforms. To be sure, some men who believe 
in a tariff for revenue only will vote the Republican 
ticket and some men who believe in a tariff for protec- 
tion will vote the Democratic ticket, but in the main, 
the great body of the people voting the one ticket or 
the other will cast their votes in accordance with their 
convictions on this subject of taxation. On which side 
shall you and I vote and why.^^ For my part I shall 
vote the Democratic ticket because I beUeve in a tariff 
levied for revenue only and do not believe in a tariff 
levied for the sake of protection. 

I know, or think that I know, that all taxation, save 
the income tax alone, however levied and for whatever 
purpose, in its nature tends to monopoly, and this 
tendency to monopoly becomes greater the higher the 
tax. And I know that all taxes, save the income tax 
alone, are in the ultimate paid by the men who do the 
labor. It must be dug out of the ground. It must be 
hammered into houses. It must be sweated out in the 
mines. For taxation cannot be raised out of idleness 
and is ever a burden upon industry. The men who 
work pay the taxes, and the men who idle eat them. 
You may tax some people rich by creating a monopoly 
by reason of taxation, but you cannot tax all the people 
rich. You may create monopoly and special privileges 
out of which the few will wax strong and mighty while 
the many bear the burden, but you cannot by taxation, 
by burdening those who labor, make all of them richer. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 335 

HOW PROTECTION BREEDS TRUSTS 

Taxation may be used, as it has been used, in such 
fashion as to change wealth from one to another, enrich- 
ing some while impoverishing others, and this is particu- 
larly the case with tariff taxation, for tariff taxation is a 
tax upon consumption and all the people are consumers, 
and they are consumers not in proportion to their 
ability to buy but in proportion to their necessities. I 
am necessitated to eat and wear as much as John D. 
Rockefeller, and if he does eat and wear more than I, it 
is because of his desire and from no necessity. K he 
lives on what I am compelled to live on, he pays no 
more tax toward running the United States Govern- 
ment than I pay, and the tax which would be a burden 
to me and lessen my ability for service is no burden to 
him. But by keeping other people out of business for 
the want of adequate capital, he makes stronger his 
grip and monopoly over his own business. 

The first effect of the tariff tax is to increase the price 
of all articles upon which it is levied and those who 
produce the taxed articles in the country get the benefit 
of this tax in their ability to sell their productions at a 
higher price. This higher price means for them suc- 
cess; in many instances it means enormous wealth; it 
means tremendous fortunes. But as the people see 
those who are in the protected industry prosper, others 
turn to this industry and begin business and make 
money at it, swift and sure and fast, and others in turn 
do the same until the business is crowded and overdone 
and production — which has been made at a greater 
cost than in foreign countries by reason of the higher 



336 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

cost of everything that enters into it — has become 
excessive and cannot be consumed in the home market. 
And then the process of ehmination sets in, the strong 
taking hold of the weakest, and the strong taking hold 
of the weakest, and the strong taking hold of the 
weakest, until all the weak have been eliminated 
and the strongest has become one. And this is the 
genesis of your trust, of your monopoly, created, 
fostered, made an absolute fact by the tariff law, and 
with this monopoly comes the inevitable raise in prices, 
higher and higher and higher until they have set the 
whole country to wondering what is the cause of the 
high price of living and why is it that American manu- 
facturers are selling abroad cheaper than they are at 
home; for that they do sell abroad cheaper than in 
America is no longer disputed. The farmer can buy his 
agricultural implements, the mechanic his tools, the 
manufacturer his machinery, the railroad builder his 
locomotives, the woman her sewing machine, all cheaper 
abroad than they can at home, and this when all the 
goods are made in America. 

PROTECTION A SOURCE OF CORRUPTION AND MORAL 
CONTAGION 

Not only does the tariff tax have the effect of increas- 
ing the cost of living and concentrating wealth in the 
hands of the few, but it corrupts the entire body politic 
and makes the tariff issue a moral question which the 
American people must face and face now if they propose 
to save for their children the vital principles of equity 
and righteousness handed down to them by their fore- 
fathers. If it be conceded to be the duty of govern- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 337 

ment to make up to manufacturers the difference 
between cost of production in this country and in 
foreign countries and also guarantee to them a reason- 
able profit, then our Senators and Representatives in 
Congress become the agents of the people for carrying 
out this purpose. They hold in their hands the wealth 
or the poverty, the success or the failure of these pro- 
tected industries, and the protected industries have a 
right to and do look to them to safeguard their interests. 
The beneficiaries of this theory come to look upon 
government and the representatives of the people in 
Congress as their government and their representatives 
responsible to them and not to the people for legislation. 
To this end they do not hesitate to lay before the Con- 
gress their selfish views, their special and particular 
interests, and to enforce these views and interests with 
subtle argument and convincing figures, and to back 
up the arguments and figures with threats of non- 
support if the representatives in Congress do not yield 
to such demands; and whenever they find these repre- 
sentatives amenable to their arguments, figures and 
threats, they naturally feel toward these representa- 
tives a sense of gratitude growing out of their prosperity 
which makes them willing to contribute liberally to the 
campaign funds of such representatives until now the 
conduct of Congressional and Senatorial elections 
throughout the country has become attended with such 
a fearful expenditure of money as to eliminate from 
consideration on the part of the people those candidates 
who are without means, or who having means, yet 
retain a sense of dignity, propriety and decency which 
forbids them from entering into a money-spending con- 



3S8 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

test for what used to be regarded as honors for the 
reward of service to the whole body of the people. We 
have recently witnessed the vindication of a Senator 
by the United States Senate who frankly admits that 
he spent in the Senatorial contest $107,000, and justifies 
the expenditure on the grounds that every cent of it was 
used legitimately and not illegitimately; and the Senate 
must have come to the same conclusion in order to per- 
mit him to retain his seat. The whole salary of this 
Senator for his six years' term amounts to less than half 
the sum which he spent to secure the office. And this 
is so common a matter that it has ceased to startle the 
conscience of the American people, or to awaken in 
them that surprise and exasperation which are neces- 
sary to correct the evil which has insistently grown into 
such vast proportions. Another United States Senator 
is charged with having gained his seat through the 
intervention of protected interests who are said to have 
raised more than $100,000 for the purpose of corrupting 
members of the Legislature, and it is charged that the 
funds so raised were actually used to this end. 

DEMORALIZATION WROUGHT BY GOVERNING FOR THE 
BENEFIT OF SPECIAL. INTERESTS 

In connection with this matter we should not over- 
look the fact that the United States Government is 
to-day prosecuting in equity and in law the various 
trusts of the United States, numbering several hundred, 
and step by step and day by day the courts are declar- 
ing these trusts have been organized, conducted and 
administered in violation of law and in contempt of the 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 339 

statute passed to protect the people against them, and 
these findings by the courts involve a finding that each 
one of the directors of these great corporations is guilty 
of a crime against the United States. It may be pleas- 
ing to some thoughtless Americans that our millionaires 
and multimillionaires are guilty of penitentiary offences, 
and there may be in their hearts the hope that they 
will ultimately reap the fruits of their sowing, but one 
who is studying his country and its development, with 
the hope of finding in it the prospect of betterment, 
cannot but feel a sense of humiliation to learn that 
the great captains of industry, those whom we have 
exploited and paraded and honored and glorified and 
worshipped, should, as a matter of fact, belong to the 
criminal classes. Rockefeller and Carnegie and INIor- 
gan and Duke and thousands of others — leading men, 
great financiers, known throughout the world, parading 
as representative Americans, envied of us — to-day 
occupy the position of being and belonging to the class 
of men who violate law and are subject to wear prison 
stripes. And this result is the outcome, the inevitable, 
certain and unavoidable outcome of the doctrine of 
protection! If the Government does owe these men a 
living, if it does owe them a profit, if the Senators and 
Representatives in Congress are under obUgations to 
legislate for them, if they have a right to have the laws 
so framed as to take money out of our pockets and 
transfer it to theirs, is it any wonder that they, with the 
years, become more and more exacting, and more hasty, 
and more anxious, and more determined to grow rich 
with certainty, and with rapidity, and to treat the 
Government and all its functions as belonging to them. 



340 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

and its laws to be disregarded by them whenever these 
plans stand in the way of rapid wealth? We have fed 
and clothed and pampered and paid them until they 
hold us in that contempt which ever precedes the vio- 
lation of the law on the part of the strong. And it is 
this feeling which made actual thieves out of the sugar 
trust and put them into the contemptible business of 
loading their balances so as to under-weigh the sugar 
imported into this country and thereby to avoid the 
payment of the very tax which in some degree was 
levied for this trust's own benefit. 

justice to all, not special favors, is the 
laborer's hope 

Government cannot make it possible for the few to 
make millions of dollars by the operation of its tax laws 
and not corrupt these few. The millions which they 
can make if the tax laws suit them will be used in part 
to secure Representatives and Senators who will pass 
such laws as the favorites may want, and when so used 
the protected magnates and the representatives of the 
people have both become corrupt, and, in turn, in order 
to shield themselves, to quiet the people and to make 
their evil acts appear good, they have often subsidized 
the press, misled public opinion and crucified the honest 
advocates of public virtue upon the cross of contempt. 
And all of this for all these years has been going on and 
has been accomplished in the name of protection to the 
American workingman! 

I want to say here and now, and I want it remem- 
bered, that the poor men who labor, the men who have 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 341 

not the means of creating public opinion, of compelling 
government favoritism, can never secure justice 
through advocacy of special privilege. Every dollar 
of this dishonest wealth is the result of the sweat of the 
laboring men of the United States and has been appro- 
priated by these few men by the operation of laws 
fastened upon the country under the false and pre- 
posterous plea that it would eventuate in justice to the 
needy. Favoritism is always extended to those who 
do not need it. Special privilege always belongs to the 
few, and in the nature of the case cannot belong to the 
many. One of the old Latin poets, more than two 
thousand years ago, animadverted to the fact that 
apples are always given to those who have orchards; 
and human nature has not changed from that day to 
this. No worker, no toiler, no man who sweats out his 
daily bread, can ever hope to secure justice through 
governmental favoritism. His only hope for equality 
is in the everlasting cry for justice, "Equal rights to all, 
special privilege to none." There are among us those 
who seek to remedy the admitted evils of the present 
by securing special favors for the weak, but every favor 
which we gain for the weak, whether to persons, to 
States or to sections, will have to be paid for by further 
favors and greater favors to those who are already 
strong. We shall never win righteousness by joining 
in the cry of Senator Tillman, wrung from him by his 
strong sense of the hot injustice being perpetrated by 
the United States under the form of law, "If you will 
steal give me my share, " but everywhere and always, 
in season and out of season, let us change this cry of 
despair into a shout of heroic virtue, "We will have 



342 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

justice and equality by the abolition of all special 
privilege." 

A LIBEL UPON AMERICAN LABOR 

The Republican party has always insisted that the 
protective tariff is essential in order to equalize wages 
paid in the United States with those paid elsewhere. 
This assumption is based upon the idea that the Ameri- 
can workingman is not only paid more per day than 
the foreign workingman, but that he is paid more per 
output — that is to say, that he is less efficient in pro- 
portion to his wages than his foreign competitor. I 
deny the truthfulness of this assumption and I stand 
here as the friend and champion of American labor to 
assert that the high wages of American workingmen as 
compared with the wages of foreigners are not due to 
favoritism shown by the American Government to 
employees and to American workingmen, but are the 
direct result and outcome of our labor's greater effi- 
ciency. The American workingman is paid more per 
day than the foreigner but his product, day by day and 
man for man, more than compensates his employer for 
the difference in wages. This is not only true as a 
historical fact, but it is true from the pure reason of the 
thing. All wages have to be paid in the last analysis 
out of production, and high wages cannot be paid out of 
a small production, for any length of time without the 
utter destruction of the business in which they are 
employed. Not only must labor produce all the wage 
which it earns, but in order to be continually employed 
it must produce a profit to the employers over and 
above the earned wage, and the higher paid American 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 343 

laborer does produce this profit for his employer over 
and above any wage paid to him, and if he did not the 
employer could not continue in business. 

Moreover, the doctrine of universal education has 
become an accepted fact throughout the civilized 
world. This doctrine carries with it the education of 
the hand as well as of the mind. It develops initiative 
and inventive skill and efiiciency. Higher wages tend 
directly to the increased education of each succeeding 
generation, and, therefore, to the increased skill and 
efficiency of each succeeding generation of workers. It 
is a fact also that men who are w^ell fed, well clothed, 
and well housed are more capable and efficient workers 
than those inadequately fed, clothed and housed, 
since wages are essential to good living they increase 
thereby the efficiency of the men who enjoy them. 

LABOR OWES NOTHING TO PROTECTION 

To say that the American workingman produces 
less in proportion to his wage than the foreigner is an 
outrageous assault upon his capacity, his fitness, his 
training, and it is not the truth. It has been invented 
by the Republican party in order to hide behind the 
pretense of kindliness toward the workingman and from 
this hidden and cowardly retreat to levy blackmail 
upon every consumer. The American workingman 
asks no favor. He insists upon no special privilege, 
but given a legal opportunity and a fair chance in 
life, he will work out his own destiny and thank no man 
for charity or patronage. For my part I am tired of the 
assumption of the protected industries in the United 



344 THE LIFE AND SPEECIJES 

States that they are eleemosynary institutions created 
by the Government for the purpose of collecting from 
unwilling consumers tribute to be paid by them to 
workingmen for labor which the manufacturer insists 
that the workingman does not perform as efficiently 
as it is done elsewhere. If the workingman is as 
efficient as elsewhere and more efficient, then he 
earns his higher wage and is entitled to it as a 
matter of right and owes no obligation to any pro- 
tected industry or to the Government of the United 
States for the blessings which come out of his skill 
and efficiency. 

I want to see the industries of North Carolina 
developed, I want to see them multipHed in number. I 
want to see competition among employers for labor and 
I want to see labor trained, educated, developed, made 
more efficient, and with increased efficiency I want to 
see increased wages, and above all I want to see every 
man feeling himself a free and independent citizen, 
owning his own soul and reahzing that he is earning his 
bread by the sweat of his brow, and is not thankful to 
any one for alleged favors done in his behalf. Let us 
break off the fetters of commerce and give her a free 
opportunity to grow; let us be done with the foolish- 
ness of Republican apprehension that with lower 
tariff taxes our country will be flooded with cheap 
foreign goods. The very moment that our imports 
increase our exports will increase. If more goods 
are brought into the country they will be paid for 
by more goods shipped out of the country. If we 
are flooded with foreign goods we will flood foreign 
countries with our goods. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 345 

THE SOLUTION OF THE SOUTh's COTTON PROBLEM 

I have read during the past fall and winter the 
appeals of Southern Governors, the chambers of com- 
merce, of agricultural societies and farmers' unions, of 
bankers and business men, urging the farmers of the 
South to lessen the production of cotton; and side by- 
side with these appeals I have read in the papers of the 
terrible suffering of men throughout the world for the 
want of adequate clothing. I have known and all of us 
have known despite our increased production of cotton 
that the world is not yet adequately clad. Thousands 
of people die annually for want of the very raiment to 
be made out of cotton, the production of which we are 
seeking to lessen. I have realized that we must indeed 
lessen our production of cotton or impoverish ourselves 
in cultivation under existing conditions, and this has 
brought me to the knowledge that these conditions are 
T^Tong, for God has given to each of us the instinct to 
make two bales of cotton grow where one grew before, 
and we are educating our farmer boys with this aim in 
view, that they shall produce more and more each year 
than their fathers produced before them. But how can 
they work out this God-given instinct and how shall our 
teaching be other than a failure if we shut our cotton 
within the borders of the United States by building up a 
tariff wall against the products of other countries? 
Foreign trade is but an exchange of products and is not 
and cannot be paid for in gold. The cotton crop alone 
would take for its purchase all the gold in the world in 
a very few years. No, my countrymen, let us cease this 
folly. Let us break down these high walls of protection 



346 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

built around us for the sake of monopoly; let us turn in 
the foreign goods of which our Republican brethren are 
so much afraid. Then we will see a demand for high 
prices and for more cotton than you can possibly pro- 
duce, and the God-planted instinct of every man to 
create more and more will find its full play and our 
agricultural education will cease to be a humbug and a 
farce. Why shall we teach how to grow more and then 
combine to prevent the growth of more? I admit our 
present need along this line. I admit the absolute 
wisdom at this moment of lessening the cotton pro- 
duction, but I deny the sense, the morality, of continu- 
ing the conditions which have forced this necessity 
upon us. 

A TARIFF PLATFORM 

I conclude my observations on the tariff with the 
succinct statement of my view as to how the matter 
should be dealt with : 

1. I am in favor of a tariff for revenue only. 

2. Such tariff to be levied 

(a) On luxuries. 

(b) On comforts. 

(c) And only as a last resort on necessaries. 

S. Such tariff to bear equally upon all productive 
energy, whether engaged in agriculture, mining, or 
manufacturing. 

4. Such tariff to bear equally upon every section of 
the country. And under this head I would observe that 
I do not believe in protection for New England and free 
trade for North Carolina, but a tariff for revenue only, 
applicable alike to both sections. I would not be 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 347 

guilty ol the quixotic folly of compelling my own people 
to bear an unequal proportion of the burdens of the 
maintenance of government, nor would I on the other 
hand exact one cent of tribute from any other section of 
the country in order that my own State and the South, 
which I love with my whole heart, should prosper at 
the expense of others. 

5. I agree with Gov. Woodrow Wilson that we are 
to act upon the general principle of the Democratic 
party, not free trade, but tariff for revenue, and we must 
approach that by such avenues, such steps, and at such 
a pace as will be consistent with the stabiUty and safety 
of the business of the country. And I agree with him 
again when he says: "The tariff is the one central issue 
of the coming campaign. It is at the head of every 
other economic question we have to deal with, and 
until we have adjusted that properly we can settle 
nothing in a way that will be lasting and satisfactory. " 
Similarly, Gov. Judson Harmon has well said, "The 
tariff is the dominating issue before the people," and 
Mr. Oscar Underwood, "There is no other issue before 
the American people of so vast importance." 

For this reason I would not create division in the 
Democratic party upon questions like the initiative, 
referendum and recall, valuable as these agents are 
regarded by so many people as the means of securing an 
adequate expression of the real will of the people. 
BeHeving, as I do, that the tariff is the vital issue of the 
coming campaign, and that, in order to work out the 
political redemption, the economic advancement, and 
the moral revolution of the American people, it is 
essential to restore our tax laws to a constitutional basis. 



348 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

I cannot join in any assault upon any man who has 
heretofore professed to be a Democrat and who will, 
during the pending campaign for righteousness, abide 
by the declarations of the Democratic party upon this 
great and overwhelming question. We have not too 
many Democrats, but too few, and, for my part, I am 
willing to allow much divergence of opinion on many 
subjects in order to have this great party to which you 
and I belong united on this one vital and everlasting 
issue: The right of the people to be freed from exploi- 
tation by means of tax laws by special interests. 

WHY MONOPOLIES MUST BE BROKEN UP 

While I am on the subject of trusts and monopoly, 
let me say that there are many men as earnestly 
desirous as we are of correcting the inequalities and 
injustices of life, and of breaking down the instrumen- 
talities which have brought about these inequalities and 
injustices, who honestly believe that the trust is a pub- 
lic benefit and needs only to be restrained by law and 
made to conform to the necessities of the public and not 
destroyed. They have arrived at this conclusion by 
reason of the very general feeling that great establish- 
ments are more eflScient and can produce more eco- 
nomically than small ones, and are, therefore, capable 
of paying higher prices for raw material at a less cost. 
This belief has been so general and so strong that it has 
given the American people pause in dealing with this 
question. If it were true, as is generally believed, that 
efficiency and therefore economy of production is 
attained by volume of business, there would be much 
ground for hesitancy about the destruction of the trusts. 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 349 

But fortunately at this juncture, Mr. Brandeis, of 
Boston, in his evidence before the Interstate Commerce 
Committee of the Senate has demonstrated beyond all 
peradventure that at this very point the trust fails 
instead of succeeds. The highest eflficiency of pro- 
duction and the greatest economy attainable are to be 
found not in the gigantic plants, but in the reasonably 
small ones. Efficiency is due to the cooperation of 
every man engaged in the production, and this coop- 
eration is largely dependent upon the esprit de corps 
which is developed, so that each worker in his depart- 
ment is necessary to every worker in every other 
department, and when the heads of these departments 
are in direct contact with all the men, and when each 
man feels that the business is his own. When the busi- 
ness grows beyond this point and the men become units 
instead of individuals and are counted by numbers 
instead of by names, inefficiency creeps in and expenses 
increase in the various departments. The only way to 
secure the highest efficiency and the greatest economy 
is by a large number of plants under separate and inde- 
pendent conduct, each one striving to the utmost limit 
with the power of every individual in its employment 
to outdo the others. 

TRUST PRODUCTION IS UNECONOMIC 

This fact when laid before the public is so patent, and 
can be showTi to be true by so many illustrations, that 
it is wonderful it should not have been known before. 
Senator Clapp, who has given much study to this 
subject, in a recent interview in the Saturday Evening 
Post, elaborates this view and illustrates it with a 



350 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

power of expression well worth the attention of every 
thoughtful man. The trusts and monopolies of the 
country, therefore, are not to be regulated, but are to be 
divided into their constituent parts and compelled to 
remain separate and competitive forces in the economic 
world before we can attain to the highest development. 
With the destruction of the trusts and the upbuilding 
of numbers of smaller corporations, the demand for 
raw material will be increased, the efficiency of the 
workers multiplied, and the selling price of goods 
reduced. Instead of the few great controlling, domina- 
ting, overwhelming manufacturing plants, we shall have 
a great number of separate, independent, active, live, 
competing organizations, and with the coming of this 
day the old-fashioned loyalty, which was the charm of 
service in the former days, will be restored. 

This is not only true theoretically, but our past 
experience has proved it to be true. The great trusts 
are not selling their products as cheap as they were sold 
by the independent organizations which the trusts have 
succeeded, and the trusts are not producing the prod- 
ucts either as cheaply or making them as good as they 
were before. This fact can be demonstrated by a 
simple exchange of dollars across the counter of your 
retailer for the goods he will deliver to you, and then 
comparing them with what you would have paid for 
the same quality of goods before the advent of the 
trusts. So I conclude on this subject that the trusts are 
not to be regulated but destroyed and supplanted by 
the old-time organization, willing to fight, to work, to 
struggle, to invent, to discover, and to initiate, willing 
and able to compete and actually competing for the 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 351 

business of the world, asking no favor, paying for no 
special privilege, and eternally opposed to conferring 
special benefits upon others. 

INCOME TAX FAVORED 

Again, I am in favor of an income tax. One of the 
great curses of this hour is the extravagance of the 
national Government. Extravagance is like a con- 
tagious disease — it spreads outward from the source of 
infection. As the government is, so are the people. A 
wasteful, reckless and extravagant government always 
creates a wasteful, reckless and extravagant people. 
This Government of ours has become the most extrava- 
gant upon earth. It has more than doubled its own 
expenditures since the administration of Grover Cleve- 
land. The per capita expenditures have gone up from 
about $7 to about $12. It now costs about $60 per 
household to run the United States Government. No 
scheme is too wild, no expenditures too great, to 
rally around it the support of the United States 
Congress. The taxes collected are indirect, the people 
taking no note as they pay them of the fact of pay- 
ment or of the amount, and since the great bulk of 
these taxes come out of the multitude and a very little 
of them come out of the few who have vast wealth, 
those who have the wealth have less loss in the amount 
of taxes which they pay than they have profit in the 
expenditures of the Government. The rich, therefore, 
are on the side of extravagance. They do not care how 
much the Government spends. They are always in 
favor of more offices and higher salaries. You can rely 



352 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

upon them confidently to advocate every new scheme 
of the Government and to insist upon the rightfulness of 
every national enterprise leading to larger expenditures. 
They know that their part in the burden is small, and 
their opportunity of gaining other wealth by reason of 
the tax laws is great, and the rich and strong are always 
closer to government than the poor and weak. The 
laborer on the farm, the worker in the factory, the 
mechanic in his shop, the clerk in the store, the workers 
in the banks, do not go to Washington. Their acquaint- 
ance with Senators and Congressmen is limited. Their 
influence, if united, might be great, but they are never 
united: they are too busy with their own problems 
of bread and meat. But the strong, the rich, the 
powerful, the magnates, the captains of industry, the 
mighty men of the nation, these can be found at all 
seasons of the year in and around Washington when 
Congress is in session. They know every Senator and 
every Representative. They know by what majority 
he was elected and they know the apprehensions which 
each has about his ability to get back, and they are in 
position to help or hinder him. Whatever enterprises 
they want set afoot, whatever enormous expenditures 
they want made, are presented to the representatives 
of the people in Washington in the most glowing terms; 
the benefits are pointed out in a fashion captivating, 
overwhelming, convincing. The burdens are to be 
met by some small change in the tax laws, reaching 
the many, but reaching them in such a fashion that 
they will take no notice of it. Thus, one after another, 
our Government takes up new schemes, new enter- 
prises, and increases year by year the annual expendi- 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 353 

ture out of all proportion to the increase in population 
and wealth. 

HOW THE INCOME TAX WILL PROMOTE ECONOMY AND 
JUSTICE 

And this will always be true until the rich are made 
to bear their part of the burden of increased expendi- 
tures. Wherever we shall have passed and put into 
operation an income tax taking from those of large 
incomes a reasonable sum for the expenditures of the 
Government, the rich will then become burden-bearers 
for the Government, and, at the same instant, they will 
become intense, active, effective advocates of economy. 
They can compel economy, and whenever they realize 
that extravagance is to be met by an increase in their 
income tax, they will compel it. The simplest and 
most direct way to make a rich man an advocate of 
economy in government is to make him feel that 
extravagance costs him some money, and when he 
reaUzes this you will hear from him, through the press, 
in magazines and in books. You will hear him depre- 
cating not only the high cost of living, but the cost of 
high living. He will be clamoring for a return to the 
ways of the fathers. He will be insistent for economy 
— and his voice is so potent that it will be heard 
throughout the nation. 

I am in favor of an income tax, not only for the 
reasons just set out, but for the further reason that the 
tariff tax, and, indeed, our internal revenue taxes, are 
taxes upon consumption and therefore fall unequally 
upon the rich and the poor, bearing most heavily upon 
the poor. As a compensation for this inequality, I 



354 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

would have an income tax reaching the rich alone, and 
thereby shift to their shoulders some of the weight that 
for all these years has borne so mercilessly upon the 
shoulders of those least able to bear it. 

UNFAIR FREIGHT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST NORTH 
CAROLINA 

While on the subject of equality, it is certainly 
appropriate that I should make some mention of the 
gross injustice done by the interstate commerce rail- 
roads in their freight rates to and from North Carolina. 
The difference between the rates to cities in Virginia 
and cities in North Carolina is so gross and outrageous 
as to challenge the attention and arouse the indignation 
of every fair-minded man to whom they are represented, 
and we can never change these conditions by seeking 
favors. We are too few in numbers and too poor in 
commerce ever to hope that we shall gain the grace 
and good will of the interstate railroads. The only 
ground upon which we can hope for a redress of our 
grievances is upon the everlasting insistence of the 
justice of our cause. We should perpetually assault 
this outrageous inequality and never cease to demand 
rightful treatment until our clamor shall have aroused 
a recognition in the nation which will compel justice. 
A small population and a small commerce can never 
hope to prevail with the entrenched power and unfair- 
ness of the railroads and of the cities benefited by their 
injustice, but even small numbers and a small com- 
merce can by insistence upon justice add to their weak- 
ness the power of the God who declared that He is no 
respecter of persons, and in this combination there can 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 365 

be no defeat. I promise the people of North Carolina 
if elected to the United States Senate — and I believe 
I shall be — to spend so much of my time as may be 
necessary during the six years of my incumbency of 
office in bringing about a change in this condition, 
either by seeing that the law as it stands is enforced, or 
if the law is inadequate, by securing the enactment of 
one which will compel for us the righteousness to which 
we are entitled and of which we have been denied 
through all these years. 

ELECTION OF SENATORS BY THE PEOPLE 

I am in favor of the election of United States Senators 
by the people, and when I say by the people I mean by 
the people and not by money, not by organization, not 
by machinery. In a recent issue of the Charlotte 
Observer the editor declared that in the coming Sena- 
torial contest, while my fitness for the place was 
acknowledged and the love of the people for me 
recognized, I could not be elected for the reason that I 
am without money, without organization, and without 
machinery. This prediction, when it first appeared, 
startled and frightened many of my friends. It had no 
such effect upon me. I did not want to be elected to 
the United States Senate by money, by machinery, 
and by organization. If I were elected to the United 
States Senate by money, by machinery, and by organi- 
zation — if I were elected by these means, I should 
glorify and honor the means which elected me. My 
father taught me that the rungs of the ladder on which 
I rise should be honored by me. If I rise on the rungs 
of wealth, organization and machinery, I know myself 



356 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

well enough to realize that I should count my obligation 
in the Senate to these things. But if I go to the Senate 
as the untrammeled choice of the people of North 
Carolina, to them I shall owe the honor and to them shall 
be dedicated all the service of my heart and mind and 
body, under God, to the perfection of our Government 
and to the betterment of the conditions of mankind. 

The Charlotte Observer is mistaken. It may be true 
in some of the Northern and Western States that a 
man must be rich before he can go to the Senate. It 
may be true in Pennsylvania that he cannot go without 
the assent of the machine. It may be true in New York 
that organization is essential to the success of any 
candidate for office. But in North Carolina the people, 
who have been clamoring for the right to elect their 
own Senators, will not dishonor their own demand by 
suffering an election to turn upon false and corrupting 
things. 

THE MENACE OF MONEY IN POLITICS 

Apart from any personal interest which I feel in this 
matter, I want to say to all North Carolinians that the 
test of the benefit of popular election of United States 
Senators is to be found in the power of the people to 
select their own Senators without cost and without 
dictation from machinery or organization. I regard 
this as of so great moment that I now deliberately 
declare that not only shall I not use money in this cam- 
paign beyond the very limited sum necessary, but I 
do not want my friends to use money in my behalf. I 
expect them to give their time and service to the proper 
presentation of my candidacy to the people, a task 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 357 

which I have always gladly rendered to those whom I 
supported as freely as I breathed the air. It will be an 
evil day for this good State of ours when the prediction 
of the Charlotte Observer shall have become the history 
of the State. The great curse of this hour is the mad 
scramble after wealth, corrupting, destroying, under- 
mining the morals of the country, and if to the things 
which wealth can purchase shall be added the honors 
which the people alone ought to bestow, the scramble 
after wealth will become a carnival of crime. A recent 
writer has truly said: *' Historians know that the critical 
hour for every Carthage and Ephesus, every Athens 
and Rome, every Berlin and Paris, every London and 
New York, comes when avarice of money and business 
interests select the legislatures that make laws, the 
judges who interpret laws, and the rulers who execute 
laws, conceived in selfishness and interpreted by 
cupidity. The decline of every nation and every city 
has begun with avarice and commercial interests 
administering the government for the powerful and 
avaricious few." 

Yes, I am without power and without wealth, with- 
out organization and without machinery, but I am not 
poor and I am not helpless. I am rich in the love of 
North Carolinians and strong in their belief that it is 
my purpose now, as it ever has been in the past, to serve 
them as a whole without being under obligation to any 
special man or set of men. I would not have you 
leave this hall supposing that I intend to insinuate by 
what I have said that the other candidates differ from 
me in this respect. I do not insinuate, I do not charge 
it. I merely reply to a suggestion from a leading North 



358 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

Carolina paper giving expression to what I have heard 
so often and from so many sources since I announced 
my candidacy. 

GOVERNOR AYCOCK's POLITICAL RECORD 

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I am about to do 
what I have never done before. I am about to an- 
nounce in a public speech my candidacy for an office 
before my party has chosen me as its standard bearer. 
I have hesitated long before deciding to do this thing. 
It was my purpose not to enter this campaign at all, so 
far as the presentation of my candidacy was concerned, 
but the constant assertion on the part of the advocates 
of other candidates that I was not in the race, that I had 
entered it for ulterior purposes, has made it incumbent 
upon me in justice to my own character and in fairness 
to the men who are supporting me, to announce in a 
public speech that I am a candidate for the United 
States Senate and expect to remain one until chosen or 
defeated by the untrammeled will of the Democratic 
voters of North Carolina. 

I have given more than a quarter of a century of the 
best years of my life and my hardest work to the service 
of the Democratic party in this State. I have con- 
fined my labors almost exclusively in that behalf to this 
State because it is the State of my birth and in her soil 
my body will rest when I shall have crossed over the 
river, and I love her beyond any part of this great 
American Union. I have not always served her wisely, 
but I can look the entire body of her people in the face 
to-night and I can declare that I have ever served her 
zealously and with no thought of the possible effect of 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK SoO 

uiy course upon my own career. I have held her 
highest office and under God I assert to-night that I 
never said a word or did a deed during the entire four 
years of my term of office with any view to my personal 
aggrandizement. I never sought to build up a personal 
or factional machine and I never endeavored to tie men 
to me by any sense of obligation by reason of favors 
done by me for them, for I did no man any favor as 
Governor, but I earnestly sought to do every man the 
right of equal and exact justice. 

If the people believe this of me and want me to 
serve them further, I shall be glad. If they think that 
either of my opponents is wiser, better or more loyal 
to their interests, I shall bow with humihty to their 
registered will and come out of the contest rejoicing 
in the hope that Government will be wiser, more 
economical and more in favor of the many than it has 
ever been heretofore, and anxious still, as I always have 
been, to do my little part, whether in public or private 
station, for the advancement of the cause of liberty 
upon the earth and the upbuilding of the Kingdom of 
God. 

A TRIBUTE TO HIS OPPONENTS 

If any of you have come here to-night expecting me 
to say aught against the other candidates, you must 
leave unsatisfied. I cannot do it. For more than 
thirty years I have been battling in behalf of Democ- 
racy against Republicanism. I have been in the midst 
of the conflict; sometimes in the lead, more often as a 
private soldier, but always with my guns trained upon 
the common enemy and not inflicting wounds upon 



360 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

those of the household of faith. If I were to attempt 
to assail Senator Simmons, my memory would awaken 
and I should recall the stirring days of 1898 and 1900, 
when as the captain of the mighty hosts of Democracy 
he led us to single, convincing, and final victory. 
Should I attempt to say aught against Governor 
Kitchin, my mind would at once revert to the dark days 
of 1896 when he fleshed his maiden sword in the blood of 
the gallant leader of the cohorts of Republicanism and 
went to Washington the lone Democratic Congress- 
man, winning his great victory over the theretofore 
invincible Thomas Settle. If I should seek to assail 
Chief Justice Clark, I could but recall the many years 
of his eminent service on the bench, and I could but 
reflect that during all these years I have been steadily 
voting for him and proclaiming to the people of North 
Carolina that he was in every way fit for the highest 
judicial office in this State. These are the things which 
I have said of them when I did not seek office. These 
are the things which I shall be called upon to say of 
them again, if in the wisdom of Democracy they are 
chosen for office again. I cannot bring myself in my 
own personal struggle for advancement to say things of 
them now which would be out of harmony with what I 
have heretofore said and what I stand ready to say 
once more. That I do not agree with them in all things 
is certain. That I would have acted differently in their 
places on many occasions I am confident. But that 
they are Democrats and worthy men I shall not 
attempt to gainsay. We are about to enter upon the 
most tremendous conflict of the ages — a fight against 
entrenched power, fortffied by wealth so great that he 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 361 

who enters into the fight in earnest must be willing to 
risk his all. In such a contest as this I shall recognize 
no enemy save those who align themselves under the 
banner of Republicanism. While we are seeking to 
overturn the power and authority of the cohorts of the 
plunderers I shall not turn my sword upon any man 
who is willing to bear a gun on our side. 

Have you forgotten the story of "Lorna Doone" — 
how the Doones, men of high family, who had fallen 
under the displeasure of the Government, had betaken 
themselves to the Doone Valley, surrounded on all sides 
by precipitous mountains, and from this strongly forti- 
fied position levied their blackmail upon the surround- 
ing country, killing and robbing and outraging the 
people of the land until the citizens were aroused and 
determined to extirpate them? Do you recall how the 
men of the eastern county gathered together on the 
eastern mountain, and the men from the western county 
gathered on the western mountain, with their arms and 
cannon ready to fall upon the Doones and destroy 
them, when by some untoward accident a cannon from 
the western ranks was trained across the valley and 
shot into the ranks of the men of the east, and how, 
inflamed by this accident, the men on the east trained 
their guns across the valley into the ranks of the men of 
the west, and while these foolish people were slaughter- 
ing one another, the Doones sallied forth and put both 
counties to flight and continued to rob and kill and out- 
rage for years to come. 

Let us heed the lesson, my countrymen! Let 
me say to Governor Eat chin and Senator Simmons 
and Chief Justice Clark: The Doones are in the 



362 THE LIFE AND SPEECHES 

valley. I pray you, gentlemen, train your guns a lit- 
tle lower. 

We must drive out the plunderers. We must con- 
quer the common enemy. We must hold North Caro- 
lina in the Democratic column. We must secure for 
our children the blessings of education. We must 
together work out better conditions for our labor and 
for those who toil. We must in conjunction with the 
national Government make our public roads both the 
cause and evidence of our civilization. We must safe- 
guard the suffrage and see that it remains where we put 
it in 1900, on a basis of intelligence. 

THE THINGS IN WHICH NORTH CAROLINA IS MAKING 
PROGRESS 

W^e have indeed gone far in North Carolina. A 
recent writer has declared that the progress of a State 
may be determined by the things which are now done 
as a matter of course which used to be the subject of 
debate. Tested by this standard North Carolina has 
advanced rapidly under Democratic rule. The right of 
every child to a public school education is no longer a 
subject of controversy but is acknowledged by every 
one. The duty and wisdom of adequate, excellent 
public roads is not only acknowledged by everybody 
but has recently been emphasized by the mud through 
which we have slowly dragged ourselves to the markets 
of the State. The right of children to be safeguarded 
in the time of their growth and development against 
overwork in factories is a right which no one now dis- 
putes. The duty of caring for the afflicted, whether 
due to age or infirmity, has been translated into so 



OF CHARLES B. AYCOCK 36S 

beautiful an application and has been performed with 
such steadfastness as to render one who would now 
deny it contemptible in the sight of all the people. 
The holy obligation of unstopping the cars of the deaf 
and making the blind to see, of making easy for the old 
soldiers and their widows their descent on the other side 
of the hill that leads to the overflowing river, has 
become the common heritage of us all. The para- 
mount object of the State to obtain peace and quiet 
and good order to the end that men may quietly work 
out their own destinies has been rendered emphatic by 
performance. And no more does any one, whatever 
may be his view about the efficacy of prohibition, ever 
expect to see again the dominance of the barroom and 
whiskey still in the civic and political life of this great 
State of ours. 

aycock's farewell to his people 

We stand a-tiptoe on the misty mountain height and 
see the morning sun make purple the glories of the east. 
We are entering upon a new day, the day of equality, of 
opportunity, the hour when every man shall be free to 
work mightily for himself until his soul, filled to satis- 
faction, shall overflow with a common benefit to man- 
kind, owing no tribute to any one and bound only to 
love his fellow man and serve his God as to him may 
seem best. 

"May these things be!" 

Sighing she spoke; 
" I fear they will not. 

Dear, but let us type them now 

In our own Uves, 

And this proud watchword rest, 

Of equal." 



364 CHARLES B. AYCOCK 

Equal! That is the \Nord! On that word I plant 
m> self and my party — the equal right of every child 
born on earth to have the opportunity "to burgeon 
out all that there is within him." 



THE END 



INDEX 



Alderman, Dr. Edwin A., 22, 
23, 113, 116. 

Allen, Col. Win. A., 44. 

Allen, Wm. R., 44. 

Allen, Judge Oliver, 166. 

Amendment, Constitutional, 219, 
231, 287. 

Amendment, Fifteenth, 215, 219. 

American Tobacco Company, 
53. 

Anderson, Albert, 204. 

Arendell, F. B., 178, 181. 

Atlantic and North Carolina 
Railroad, 102, 104. 

Avery, Erwin, 40. 

Aycock, Benjamin, 4. 

Aycock, Charles B., ancestry, 
boyhood, and early education, 
3; birthplace of, 8; early im- 
pressions, 14; early schooling, 
17; at Wilson Collegiate In- 
stitute, 18; at Kinston, 19; 
at University of North Caro- 
lina, 21; his fellow students, 
23; leadership in college, 25; 
election as chief-marshal, 27; 
foundations on which he built 
his character, 32; ruling prin- 
ciples of his life, 33; in Golds- 
boro, 1898, 34; his integrity 
of purpose, 36; dominant 
qualities, 37; opinion of Gen- 
eral Lee, 40; tribute to the 
Moravians, 41; his deeply 
religious nature, 42; his Sun- 
day-school work, 43; study of 
law, 44; admission to the bar, 
44; partnership wnth Daniels, 
44; Strong, Aycock, and Dan- 



iels, 44; his first year's income, 
46; his marriage, 47; appointed 
U. S. District Attorney, 47; 
elected as governor, 48; part- 
nership with Judge Robt. W. 
Winston, 49; his love of jus- 
tice, 53; his power of advocacy, 
57; his political faith, 62; 
nominated elector-at-large, 64; 
on republican rule, 68; ad- 
dress at Laurinburg, 70; de- 
bate with Hon. Cyrus 
Thompson, 71; nomination 
for governor, 77; speech at 
Burlington, 81; speech at 
Waynes\dlle, 82; speech at 
Shelby, 82; speech of accept- 
ance, 82; on the "Grandfather 
Clause," 84; his guberna- 
torial campaign, 86; elected 
governor, 89; inaugural ad- 
dress, 92, 117; on the liquor 
traffic, 98; executive clemency, 
99, 174; on lynching of negroes, 
101 ; his influence on education, 
112; his philosophy of educa- 
tion, 123; speech before North 
Carolina Societj'^ in New York 
City, 124; speech before Manu- 
facturers' Club of Charlotte, 
125; speech before conference 
for education in the South, 
127; on compulsory school 
laws, 128; member Child 
Labor Committee, 129; New 
York Herald inter\dew on 
negro education, 130; address 
before Chamber of Commerce, 
Charlotte, 131; ideals of cit- 



S65 



INDEX 



izenship and public service, 
140; letter announcing can- 
didacy for U. S. Senate, 143; 
declines invitation to speak 
on arbitration treaties, 148; 
attitude toward negro, 153, 
159, 170; his relations to his 
friends, 164; his kindness to 
children, 167; his reverence 
for women, 168, 186; his re- 
lations to political opponents, 
169; his charitable nature, 171 ; 
"simplicity and gentleness 
and honor and clean mirth," 
177; preference for simple 
fare, 181; fondness for fox- 
hunting, 182; his favorite 
authors, 182; as a Prohibi- 
tionist, 193; on the tariff 
question, 194; on special 
privileges, 196; his relations 
to his family, 204; his dram- 
atic death, 206. 

Ay cock, Francis, 4. 

Ay cock, Jesse, 4. 

Ay cock, John, 4. 

Ay cock, Robert, 4. 

Aycock, William, 3. 

Bagley, Worth, 156. 
Ballot, purity of the, 238. 
"Barnaby Rudge," 180. 
Battle, Dr. Kemp P., 24, 44. 
Bishop, Miss, 4. 

Bond claim, Schafer Bros., 103. 
Brooks, Eugene C, 113, 137, 

186. 
Bryan, Wm. Jennings, 140, 148. 
Bullock, J. D., 268. 
Butler, Marion, 65. 
Butler, Senator, 215. 

Candidacy U. S. Senate, letter 

announcing, 143. 
Charleston Exposition, 157. 
Ci\41 War, 269, 270, 275. 
Clark, Judge, 202. 
Cline, F. A., 44. 



Confederate Soldiers, pensions 

for, 93, 96. 
Connor, Hon. H. G., 134. 
Connor, H. G. Jr., letter to, 

147. 
Conscript Act, 6. 
Cotton Problem, solution of, 

345. 
County Government System, 

213. 
Craig, Locke, 23, 70. 
Crisp, J. A., 88. 
Cunningham, John S., 75. 
Cuyler, John P., 108. 

Daniels, Judge Frank A., 8, 
19, 23, 44, 51, 71, 190. 

Daniels, Josephus, 13, 19. 

Davidson, Theodore F., 75. 

"Declaration Against Illiter- 
acy," 120. 

Democrat, Aycock's definition 
of a, 62. 

Dickens, Charles, 184. 

Dixon, Benjamin F., 78, 93. 

Dixon, Doctor, 166. 

Dortch, Isaac F., 44 

Dortch, Hon. Wm. F., 44. 

Doughton, Rufus A., 23. 

Duffy, Rodolph, 19, 44. 

Dunham-Wiggins Debate, 16. 

Dunnaway, M. R., 201. 

Education of children, 223, 

254, 259, 304, 333. 
Education of negro, 130, 132, 

258. 
Education, universal, 316, 343. 
Elam, Orlando, 146. 
Executive clemency, 99, 

Faircloth, Judge Wm. T., 44. 
Fifteenth Amendment, 215, 219. 
Finch, K. S., 105. 
Finger, Sydney M., 116. 
Finklestein, Barna, 165. 
Fort, Wiley, 181. 
Foust, Professor Julius I., 39, 
113. 



INDEX 



367 



Foxhunting, 319. 
Foy, Rev. Joseph H., 19. 
Freight discrimination, 354. 
Fuller, Chief Justice, 109. 

Gilmer, Robert D., 78, 93. 
Glenn, Governor, 59, 112, 199. 
Gold, Elder, 33. 

Government by freeholders, 214. 
Grainger, H. F., 44. 
"Grandfather Clause," The, 83. 
Grant, Maj. H. L., 216, 218. 
Grantham, E. B., 147. 
Grayson, David, 184. 
Grimes, J. Bryan, 78, 93. 

Hardy, H. B., 164. 
Harmon, Gov. Judson, 347. 
Harriss vs. Wright, case of, 215. 
Harvey, Lamb. 180. 
Hassell, Elder Sylvester, 18. 
Hicks, Thurston T., 44. 
Hoar, Senator, 279. 
Hooks, Robert, 4. 
Hooks, Serena, 4, 7. 
Hufham, Rev. J. D., 207. 

Illiteracy decreased, 138. 
Income tax, 351. 
Industrial awakening, an, 264. 
Initiative and referendum, 150. 
Interests, special, 338. 

Jarvis, Governor, 195. 
Jenkins, John Wilber, 150. 
Johnson, Archibald, 33, 165. 
Johnson, Rev. Livingston, 37. 
Joyner, Dr. James Yadkin, 23, 
37, 42, 93, 113, 121, 137, 147. 
Justice, M. H., 75. 

KiLGO, Bishop, 32, 50. 
Kipling, Rudyard, 177. 
Kitchin, Governor, 202. 

Lacy, Benjamin R., 78, 93. 
Lee, Gen. Robert E.. 155, 157, 
275. 285, 309. 



Liquor traffic, the, 97. 
Lynching of negroes, 100. 

Man-ning, James S., 23. 

McBee, V. E., 105. 

Mclver, Dr. Charles Duncan, 

23, 116, 119, 206. 
McLean, Neal Archibald, 27. 
McMichael, C. O., 199. 
Mebane, Charles H., 116. 
Menace of negro suffrage, 61, 73. 
Mob law, the curse of, 242. 
Money in politics, menace of, 

356. 
Monopolies must be broken 

up, 348. 
Moravians, tribute to, 41. 
Morehead, Governor, 112 
Murphey, Walter, 199. 

Negro, a message to the, 

247. 
Negro, attitude toward the, 153, 

159. 
Negro education, 130, 132, 258. 
Negro disfranchisement, 150, 

219. 
Negro dominance, 67. 
Negro lynching, 100. 
Negro problem, 161. 
Negro suffrage, 61, 73. 
Negro vote of 1896, 67. 
News and Observer, extract 

from, 13. 
Noble, M. C. S., 23, 27. 

Olds, Col. Fred A., 180. 
O'Neal, Governor, 206. 
Opportunity for all, equal, 329. 

Pardoning of prisoners, 74, 

99. 
Parker, Junius, 151. 
Parker, W. T., 146. 
Patterson, S. L., 166. 
Pearsall, Col. P. M., 141, 166. 

178, 179, 180. 
Pell, Robert P., 23. 



368 



INDEX 



Penitentiary self supporting, 
102. 

Pensions for Confederate Sol- 
diers, 93, 96. 

Poe, Clarence, 208. 

Poe, Edgar Allan, 183. 

Political conditions during re- 
construction, 15. 

Poll tax, payment of, 223. 

Pritchard, Judge Jeter C, 33, 
39. 

Pritchard, Senator, 215, 220. 

Privilege, special, 341. 

Public schools, insufficient, 115. 

Pumell, Judge Thomas R., 105. 

Race problem, 212, 257, 262. 

Railroad rate case, 59. 

Receivership Atlantic and North 
Carolina Railroad, 105. 

Reconstruction in North Caro- 
lina, 15. 

Reid, Gov. David S., 214. 

Restoration of local govern 
ment, 64. 

Robinson, Hon. W. S. O'B., 
44, 205. 

Rock, Calvin, 190. 

Rodwell, J. R., 178. 

Roosevelt, Theodore, 157, 271. 

Rountree, George, 149. 

Russell, Governor, 215, 217. 

Scarborough, John C, 116. 
Schafer Bros, bond claim, 103. 
Schools, public, insufficient, 

115. 
Secession, right of, 312. 
Self government, local, 213. 
Senatorial corruption, 295, 338. 
Senators, election of by the 

people, 355. 
Seymoiu", Hon. Augustus S., 48. 
Shakespeare, William, 182. 
Shepherd, Judge James E., 209. 
Shipman, M. L., 164. 
Simmons, F. McL., 71, 80, 167, 

197, 202. 



Simonton, Judge Charles H., 

108. 
Small, John H., 44. 
Smedes, A. K., 44. 
Smith, John R., 305. 
Southern Education Board, 119. 
South Dakota suit, 102. 
Special interests, 338. 
States' rights, 313. 
Stengel, Doctor, 204. 
Strange, Robert, 23. 
Strong, Judge Geo. V., 44. 
Suit of South Dakota, 102. 
Suffrage amendment, 73, 117» 

135. 
Suffrage campaign of 1900, 73. 
Suffrage, universal, 212. 

Tarbell, Ida M., 184. 
Tariff' for revenue only, 300. 
Tariff platform. A., 346. 
Tariff, protective, 296, 331, 342, 

343. 
Taxation, 293, 330. 
Taylor, Senator Bob, 205. 
Temperance legislation, 260. 
Tennyson, Lord Alfred, 182. 
Thomas, Charles R., 23. 
Thompson, Dr. Cyrus, 71, 79. 
Tillet, Charles W., 188, 197. 
Toon, Gen. Thomas F., 78, 93, 

118, 121. 
Toombs, Robert, 196. 
Trusts, the, 296, 336, 338, 348 
Turner, W. D., 78. 
Twain, Mark, 179 

Underwood, Oscar, 347. 
Universal education, 316. 

Van Dyke, Dr. Henry, 182, 
183. 

Watts law, 98. 
White, Congressman, 218. 
Whitfield, Col. Nathan B., 143. 
Wiley, Calvin H., 255. 
Wilkinson, Miss, 4. 



INDEX 



369 



Williams. Prof. Henry Horace, 

23, 26, 27. 
Wilson Collegiate Institute, 18. 
Wilson, Gov. Woodrow, 347. 
Winston, Hon. Francis D., 21, 

23, 44. 
Winston, Judge Robert W., 23, 

25. 42. 49. 191. 



Wood, Frank, 27. 

Woodard, Miss Cora Lily, 19, 

208. 
Woodard, Miss Varina Da\'i8, 

19, 208. 

YoDEB, Fbed R., $00. 




The Country Life Press 
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This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 



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The life and 
.qpeep.hes of 



Charles Brantley Ay^ 



OCT 2 fi 195 



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L 005 459 356 1 



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